A group of citizens, interest groups including representatives from Historic Fincastle, Inc., the Botetourt County Historical Society and the Museum, along with local government representatives, have met over the last several months to discuss historic preservation activities and strategies.
Botetourt Preservation Partnership, Inc. is the official title of the group that includes Fincastle Mayor Mary Bess Smith and council member Richard Flora. The goal of the group is to form a more structured organization whose goal it will be to work to preserve historical assets, not only in Fincastle, but throughout Botetourt County.
At the Fincastle Town Council’s monthly meeting last Thursday, a resolution of support was passed by the council for the formal formation of the organization.
Additionally, at the request of Flora, staff and Planning Commission Chair Scott Critzer have been in contact with staff from the Roanoke-Alleghany Planning District Planning Commission. With the help of Flora, Critzer, and Smith, Fincastle is preparing to submit an application to the Department of Housing and Community Development for a Community Development Planning Grant. The planning grant would go towards the town determining significant and/or long-term community development needs.
The face of Fincastle is set to change dramatically over the next few years. The town leaders are aware that they need to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities the change will provide. Council feels that now is an appropriate time to engage in such a project. There is no local match requirement, and a successful planning grant could lead to the development of a supplemental project. Some of the potential projects include:
- Improved signage directing traffic off Route 220;
- Improvements to the corridor to give the impression of a “sense of place.” This could include new entryway signs, landscaping in areas, welcoming flags/planters, historic lighting to replace existing “institutional” lighting, etc.;
- Uniform wayfinding and directional signage;
- Unform signage to annotate significant structures, parks and facilities;
- Signage and façade improvement packages for new and existing businesses;
- Creation of additional stops/waysides/mini parks;
- Creation of Economic Development Plan;
- Creation of a sidewalk/bicycle/pedestrian plan and supplemental construction.
Another interesting item from the meeting explained that Town Council submitted a deed of dedication for Big Spring Park. Fincastle Town Manager David Tickner explained that there are many grant requirements that need to be met. In the case of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), the land at the park must be dedicated into permanent public conservatorship. Over the last several weeks, staff along with Grants Administrator Donnie Underwood, Town Attorney Kathy Wright, and Virginia Outdoors Foundation staff have been working on a draft deed of dedication in order to comply with the requirements of the program and to also prompt release of the funding. A contract with the VOF has been executed, outlining what the amount of funding and what the funds are to be utilized for, as well as stipulations for the land dedication.
Blue Ridge Wildlife is beginning the process of preparing the pond for the aerator. Cedrick Short started treatment of the pond this month and will proceed with bi-monthly treatment through November. He anticipates obtaining a permit for the grass carp and bringing them in this fall, likely in October. He will be meeting with staff that day to discuss power options for the aerator.