By Aila Boyd email@example.com
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an updated vision statement, which focuses on nine unique areas of interest, for the county at the end of last month.
It’s called “Botetourt 2045 Vision: Honoring Our History, Enjoying the Present and Shaping the Future.”
The updating of the vision statement allowed the current Board of Supervisors the opportunity to make it their own since only two out of the five members, Chairman Billy Martin and Vice Chairman Dr. Mac Scothorn, were on the board the last time the vision statement was updated back in 2014.
The statement came out of the strategic planning retreat that the county held earlier in March at the Natural Bridge Hotel.
“We are continuing the legacy of the work done by our previous board members and are fortunate to have this current group of leaders on the board,” said Scothorn. “We may not always agree on every situation, but I am proud of the vision that we have been able to put together. Our diverse backgrounds and experiences have created a distinct and vibrant vision for our citizens.”
The statement envisions Botetourt County of 2045 as being “energetic, enabling, engaging but not engulfed, exciting, and excited.”
Additionally, it says that the northern part of the county will be characterized by “innovative agriculture and recreational enterprises.” The southern part of the county, it says, will be full of “all types of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.”
The areas of focus included in the vision statement are as follows:
Thriving Business Environment
“Through active and targeted marketing, we attract community-minded, value-added business and industry from around the globe,” the statement reads.
The statement describes Botetourt’s economy as a “regional force.” It goes on to note that the county, which it says is a “reliable partner and creative resource,” has created a business-friendly environment by maximizing conditions needed for new businesses to flourish and by assisting existing businesses.
“We showcase a cluster of successful niche and traditional agri-businesses that serve markets near and far,” the statement reads.
The statement notes that the county has historically been an agriculture community and has recently evolved into more high-tech farming, which utilizes innovative and sustainable methods of tapping into the county’s natural resources.
Additionally, the statement references how agri-tourism and the youth’s connection to the land has been and can continue to be encouraged.
The Gateway Center
“Through design and dedicated effort, it [Exit 150] serves as the major connection that economically and physically unites all areas of the county,” reads the statement.
The statement calls the Exit 150 area a “gateway” for Botetourt County, as well as the Roanoke Valley, Shenandoah Valley, Central Virginia and the Virginia Highlands.
It goes on to note that Exit 150 is a starting point for people who are seeking scenic beauty, history, and culture and is a hub for restaurants, lodging, entertainment, trails, and residential options.
The statement says, “Botetourt provides awesome experiences for both residents and visitors.”
It also mentions that “an array of engaging and exciting” entertainment, recreational activities, cultural experiences, sports, and outdoor amenities are offered throughout the county as the result of public-private and regional partnerships.
An upcoming entertainment offering in the county is the Daleville Summer Concert Series, which kicks off April 20 with “Bridges.” The series will run through early October.
Public Service Leadership and Engagement
“Botetourt County is a leader in creative community solutions that are replicated in other localities and regions,” the statement reads. “We govern with self-reliance, while exploring and participating in regional as well as private sector partnerships of mutual advantage.”
The statement also says that the expanded and diversified tax base, in addition to the conservative management of finances, has minimized the tax burden for county residents while at the same time ensuring fiscal stability.
Lifelong Learning Excellence
“Botetourt County’s education system is a vibrant and dynamic environment that leverages technology to attract the best educators and to prepare students for higher education and career/technical success after high school,” reads the statement.
Coordinated programs that align the county’s labor force with existing and emerging labor needs, the statement asserts, are offered through the county school division, institutions of higher learning, and workforce development organizations.
“High-speed, high capacity internet connectivity facilitates and supports county business, educational, and cultural relationships around the globe,” reads the vision statement.
The statement goes on to explain that connectivity allows the county the opportunity to supply goods and services worldwide, while also fostering resident’s entrepreneurial spirts.
Access to tele-health, increased employment opportunities, and greater access to cultural experiences are all cited as benefits of worldwide connectivity.
The county’s Broadband Commission, chaired by Scothorn, has recently been making headway in expanding broadband access to county residents. During the March meeting of the Board of Supervisors, consultant Sandie Terry, president of Rural Broadband Consulting, LLC, provided the supervisors with an update on the Broadband Commission.
“You all have some incredible opportunities in front of you,” Terry told the supervisors while discussing how the county can bridge the “digital divide.”
It was recently announced by Governor Ralph Northam that $758,998 had been awarded to fund Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative’s efforts to expand broadband coverage in certain parts of the county.
Celebrating Our Unique History and Heritage
“We proudly celebrate and promote Botetourt’s unique and influential role in the creation of the American Republic and in the diversity of cultures that ensured the success of the American story,” reads the vision statement.
It goes on to attribute the research, planning, restoration, and preservation of the county’s history and heritage as having instilled a sense of community pride, while also fostering economic development. The statement specifically mentions the county’s role in westward expansion.
One of the more recent efforts to preserve the county’s history focused on the terraced gardens at the former Greenfield Plantation. The firm Hurt & Proffitt was hired to conduct an archeological dig, which found that the gardens were built after 1830.
Another recent effort established Lewis and Clark signage at three county locations.
Smart Growth and Conservation
“Thoughtful planning and policy making have enabled Botetourt County to achieve a desired balance of development and conservation throughout the county,” reads the vision statement. “Impact-sensitive awareness and innovation allow diverse agriculture, natural and resource-related enterprises to thrive in northern Botetourt while maintaining the rolling farmlands, wooded mountains, and scenic creeks and rivers that define its beauty.”
The statement goes on to note that a “social and economic renaissance” has occurred in towns and communities throughout the county as the result of collaborative visioning and policy making.
The redevelopment of the Exit 150 area in Daleville is cited as having promoted and smoothed the way for livable development in the southern part of the county.
The county will be conducting a series of community meetings that will be aimed at gathering input about land use needs, challenges, and future opportunities. The input will be used to update the county’s Comprehensive Plan, which is the document that dictates the way in which the county governs.
The schedule for upcoming meetings is as follows:
Eagle Rock Library on April 11 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Fincastle Library on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Blue Ridge Library on April 30 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Greenfield Education and Training Center on May 7 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Buchanan Library on May 14 from 4 to 7 p.m.