The Vinton Host Lions Club recognized the winner of its 2018 scholarship, Haley Cook, at the meeting on June 11. This scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior at William Byrd High School based on academic achievement and community service.
The award was presented to her formally by Lion Steve Lonker at the Senior Awards Assembly held at William Byrd High School on May 22.
Cook is a valedictorian of the Class of 2018 and plans to attend William and Mary in the fall. She also received the Ruth Wade Scholarship from the Roanoke County Education Foundation, the Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship, and the Melva P. Jones Scholarship from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley.
Jason Peters, Vinton’s representative on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, was the guest speaker for the evening. He updated the Lions on economic development in the county and in Vinton.
The supervisors recently passed a budget of $190 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Peters explained that several mandatory increases, such as an additional $1 million under the Child Services Act, impacted the budget.
Peters informed members that rezoning for the 100-acre Woodhaven property purchased in a joint agreement by Roanoke County, Roanoke City, and Salem is under consideration. It is one of the few large tracts of land left in the Roanoke Valley that can be developed for industry. The board is hoping to attract a technology-driven or medical research firm or organization to the property.
He announced that the Oak Grove and Hollins areas will undergo studies, such as Vinton did in 2013, to determine what those communities will look like in the next decade.
Peters told the Lions that the Vinton Macado’s would be opening in early September; renovations will be complete at the Lancerlot around Labor Day, as well. The former William Byrd High School renovations will also be completed this year with leasing of apartments beginning in late summer or early fall. He is working with the Town of Vinton on plans to attract a hotel to the town.
He discussed the Master Plan at Explore Park and the fact that four companies have already signed leases to provide services at the park, including Don’s Cab-Inns of Vinton. Overnight camping got under way at Explore Park on June 15. A ropes course is under development. He expects the growth at Explore Park to make an economic impact on the Vinton area as people using the amenities at the park will “need somewhere to stay, eat, and shop.”
Lions asked him about progress on the Gish’s Mill property. He explained that the key site is totally a project of the Town of Vinton.
Peters said that Roanoke County, as always, is eager to work with the town on economic development projects, such as ones that have been completed at the Vinton Library and the Roland E. Cook Lofts. He believes that the most progress will be made if the entire region works together to attract business and industry.
The Vinton Host Lions closed the meeting with discussion of their future plans. Their largest project each year is the private preschool and public-school eye screenings, which they conduct annually. During the past school year, they completed vision evaluations on about 1,600 students— an invaluable contribution to the community. In addition to the scholarship awarded to Cook, the Host Lions each year provide a scholarship to the Best All Around students chosen by the faculty at WBHS.