Vinton Town Council welcomed Nathan McClung as the new Principal Planner for the town’s Planning and Zoning Department at its meeting on July 17.
Planning and Zoning Director Anita McMillan told council that McClung excelled in the first round of interviews conducted with many qualified candidates and advanced to a second and final interview, “where he further impressed the panel with his knowledge and demeanor.”
McClung earned his undergraduate degree in Public Affairs/Public Policy with a minor in history in May 2016 from Virginia Tech— and in just three years. He worked as a Housing Program Administration Intern for the City of Alexandria in 2015.
From fall 2016 through December 2017, McClung served as a Planning Consultant with the Town of Tazewell. While there, he developed a strategic plan for Tazewell Today to revitalize the main street of the town, managed a planning grant through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for a parking garage; conducted marketing research and provided consultation to local businesses and potential entrepreneurs on the benefits of operating on Main Street, and planned and coordinated local events that brought the local community together.
McClung earned his Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in May 2018, and completed the Local Government Certificate Program at Virginia Tech. He was married in June and began work in Vinton on July 2.
Council also recognized Vinton War Memorial Events and Operations Manager Chasity Barbour who recently completed her 10-month participation with Leadership Roanoke Valley (LRV). The graduation ceremony for the LRV was held on June 6 at Roanoke College. This is a competitive program with participants selected from a pool of applicants.
Leadership Roanoke Valley was established in 1983 to encourage community leadership in the region. The interactive program helps participants better understand issues facing the Roanoke region by initiating creative problem solving to help build leadership skills and educate participants through experiential learning on how to make a difference in business and within their community.
This year’s LRV class included 31 graduates from all aspects of the local business community, including both public and private sector employees.
Assistant Town Manager Pete Peters shared with council that the LRV chair described Barbour as a “hidden jewel.” She “carved out 100 hours for this program on top of working her regular, hectic schedule at the Vinton War Memorial.” Barbour was one of only three graduates to be invited to return as an advisor in the program next year.
Vinton Volunteer First Aid Crew Chief Wayne Guffey presented the First Aid Crew report for June. The volunteer truck hours were 465 out of 468 possible hours (99 percent). Crew members donated 1795 hours of their time. A unit was in service 100 percent of the volunteer time.
There were 217 emergency calls in June— 101 during career hours and 116 during volunteer hours on nights and weekends. Calls came from Vinton (128), East Roanoke County (51), the remainder of Roanoke County (33), Bedford (4), and Roanoke City (1). A total of 119 transports were made— 63 by the career staff and 56 by the volunteer crew. The time from dispatch of calls to being en route was under two minutes 97 percent of the time.
Chief Richard Oakes presented a report on the actions of the Vinton Volunteer Fire Department for June. There were a total of 142-man hours for the month. Fifty-five calls were dispatched to the Fire Department in June— 34 during volunteer hours and 21 during career hours. The volunteers gained another new member last month— Chase Caldwell, who serves on both fire and EMS. Top man-hours for the month were Jonathan Parker, Josh Parker, and Benny Powell.
Council adopted a resolution requested by Finance Director Anne Cantrell approving the lease financing to purchase a knuckle boom truck for Public Works. RFPs were issued through VML/VACo. HomeTrust Bank offered the lowest rate at 3.10 percent over a term of seven years.
Public Works Director Joey Hiner asked council to adopt a resolution authorizing the town manager to file an application for allocation of VDOT Smart Scale grant funds for the Walnut Avenue Corridor Improvements Phase 2 Project.
The grant would fund improvements along the Walnut Avenue Corridor from 1st Street to 5th Street providing safer bicycle and pedestrian access to downtown Vinton, the Glade Creek Greenway, Glade Creek Greenway Phase 2 (currently in design) and the Roanoke Valley Greenway system. It would add sidewalks, curb and gutter, and storm drain facilities to the north side; connect sidewalks and enhance vehicular access management on the south side; and place street lights to match ones added downtown with the CDBG grant. All this would improve the aesthetics of a main gateway to the town which funnels traffic to the downtown business district.
Applications are due on August 1; council approval is required to apply for the funding which will be available in 2020. This grant does not require a local match from the town. The cost of the project would be about $2.5 million.
Councilman Mike Stovall took the opportunity to thank Town Clerk Susan Johnson for helping him get “up to speed” in his new position on council. He was sworn in on July 3.
Council members will not meet on August 7 in Council Chambers. They will be celebrating National Night Out that evening at 6 p.m. at the Charles R. Hill Senior Center. The public is invited to attend.