By Debbie Adams
The redevelopment of the former Vinton Motors into Vinyard Station continues apace. With its location at the corner of Pollard Street and Washington Avenue at one of the gateways into downtown Vinton, each day thousands of passersby are able to watch the progress on the project.
In recent days, bricklayers have begun laying the exterior brick which will change the face of the building dramatically. Both gray and red brick are being used in separate sections of the building to break up the large space, to give the impression of two smaller buildings and to fit in with the rest of the downtown area.
The Pollard Street side of the structure will feature a glass wall, allowing a view of the exposed beams inside with the beautiful ceiling of bowstring trusses being preserved by developer Dale Wilkinson.
Outside, between East Lee Avenue and the Vinyard Station parking lot, Josh Ridgeway of Blue Valley Hardscaping LLC, has been installing pavers and steps to create an eye-catching walkway connecting the new space at Vinyard Station to old town Vinton near the Dogwood Restaurant and Cyndi’s Fashions. (The Vinyard Station parking lot itself will be repaved, with curbs, lighting and sidewalks installed.)
Wilkinson is making every effort to employ local businesses and contractors in the redevelopment project. Ridgeway grew up in the Vinton area—“ten or fifteen minutes down Hardy Road” and graduated from Staunton River High School.
Ridgeway started out in the landscaping business, but he has eventually come to focus his business on “hardscaping.” Hardscaping involves the non-living elements of landscaping such as patios, walls, fireplaces, pergolas, driveways, and walkways using brick, stone, concrete, wood, and metal. (Take a look at some of his beautiful work on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Valley-Hardscaping-LLC.)
Hardscaping is grueling, labor-intensive, physical work, especially in the heat of the summer, not to mention dealing with the torrential rains this particular spring.
Ridgeway says he was introduced to Wilkinson through Blue Stone Block— where he buys most of his materials— and did some work on Wilkinson’s own home.
When he was hired for the Vinyard Station project, Ridgeway, Dale Wilkinson, and Dale’s son Seth, met at the site to rough out the plans. The area was graded, and dirt was hauled in before installation of the tumbled pavers began.
Ridgeway says “tumbled” pavers with smoothed edges were chosen to give a weathered, rustic look to the walkway. The pavers rest on an underlay of sand. The spaces between will be filled with polymeric sand, which sets up like grout. Polymeric sand is a mixture of fine sands and polymers and is more durable than filling with just plain sand. Heavy rain won’t wash it out;, it deters weeds and it’s resistant to insects.
Ridgeway says he has gotten lots of positive feedback from passersby in downtown Vinton— and interest in hiring him— although he is already booked up with projects for about the next three months.
Wilkinson and general contractor Greg Rhodes of Construction Unlimited Inc. say the project is moving right along on schedule, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with plans for completion this summer.
Jack Winston, who owns the Jersey Lily’s in Salem and Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse Grill on Orange Avenue, will be putting a 5,000-square-foot restaurant, Joe Goodpies, in place inside the repair shop section of the building, taking up about one-third of the interior space.
Total private investment for the purchase and renovation of Vinyard Station is estimated at $2.7 million, creating nearly 12,000 square feet of move-in-ready leasable space. It will serve as a cornerstone of the downtown area and preserve an iconic landmark.