Charles “Chuck” Unroe, mayor of the Town of Iron Gate since 2014 and Town Manager of Clifton Forge since Nov. of 2020, has announced that he will not seek reelection as mayor of Iron Gate.
Chuck, the son of Frank and Wanda Unroe, was born at the C & O Hospital in Clifton Forge in Jan. of 1959, and he was employed by Nicely Funeral Home for 13 years prior to being hired as the town manager of Clifton Forge.
Chuck’s father was a maintenance worker at the Arcadia rubber plant for years, and his mother was a housewife.
“I worked for Tommy Slusser at the funeral home for 13 years,” Chuck remembered.
Chuck and Karen, his wife, have been married for 30 years, and they have five children, Travis, Allison, Zach, Hallie and Madelaine.
Wearing two hats, one as mayor of Iron Gate just two miles south of the Town of Clifton Forge and one as town manager of Clifton Forge, has been demanding, and Chuck’s decision not to seek reelection comes at a time when addressing problems with infrastructure in Clifton Forge demands much of his time.
Chuck noted, “We’ve got a list of infrastructure projects lined up, and we’ll keep the public posted on them.”
“The Town is investing $100,000 in matching money for improving the appearance of commercial property in Town,” Chuck observed.
He continued, “Work has started on the Town Hall, outside repairs, painting and plaster work.”
“The bathrooms at the Armory are complete, and the Armory is open and available for use,” he added.
The Clifton Forge Armory is managed by the Armory Authority, and the facility is currently being used for sundry activities such as basketball, pickleball, weddings and birthday parties.
As for the leaking valves that have resulted in water trickling down Ridgeway Street for months, Chuck remarked, “The contract has been awarded to Atkins Excavating, and work will start after the necessary materials are secured.”
“We are reviewing the applications for the façade grant that the Town rolled out in July,” he continued.
The coffer dam project that consists of laying a waterline under the Jackson River adjacent to Verge St. has been delayed.
Chuck said, “Due to the rain and bad weather, completion of the project has been delayed, but it should be finished by September.”
He announced, “For the Jefferson-East School building, the Town has been awarded a $50,000 grant fund by Virginia Housing to solicit community involvement for the development of the property.”
“Council has approved Linden Park as the site for the All Abilities Park,” Chuck offered.
He also confirmed that the Love Structure funding has been achieved via donations and that work on the project will begin soon.
Chuck concluded, “We have been negotiating with a private investor for the past year about the old high school.”
Clifton Forge High School, built in 1928 and added onto in 1952, was converted to Clifton Middle School that housed eighth graders only in 1983 after Clifton Forge City Schools consolidated with Alleghany County Public Schools.
Ultimately, Chuck’s focus is to involve the community by creating an ongoing dialogue about the best ways to utilize the empty school buildings now that the consolidation of Alleghany County Public Schools and Covington City Schools has become official to form the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools as of July 1.