On Tuesday night, November 14, the Clifton Forge Town Council held their regularly scheduled meeting (the second Tuesday of the month) at 7:00 p.m. at the Clifton Forge Town Hall on Main Street. After a brief prayer and the recital of the pledge of allegiance, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Jeff Irvine.
The first item on the agenda was a presentation by Robin Bruns, Regional Planner II of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. She was assisted by Teresa Hammond of the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. While Bruns led the presentation, Hammond used a slideshow that detailed the key points.
“Prior to coming here [Clifton Forge], I worked with other communities to help them reach their outdoor recreation goals…” Bruns began. The purpose of her presentation was to offer her background as an outdoor activities planner and present the Council with several ideas she had to increase outdoor activity in our area. Teresa Hammond also provided a booklet with additional details of Robin Bruns’ plans and vision for our area.
“… It [booklet] talks about current conditions, background, and a prioritized list of objectives,” Bruns stated. “… It also includes about 30 grant programs or funding sources that are targeted specifically to the objectives identified in the plan and they are programs that this area, or nonprofits in this area, are eligible to apply for… As far as the plan itself, really the context for a plan is that local governments prior to this process, they were doing really good things with outdoor recreation… but everyone was doing it all alone, so this approach was really a key strategy to think about our area together, working as a destination, think about what we can do as the region to improve outdoor recreation.”
After a brief Q&A with the Town Council, Bruns concluded her presentation and the Clifton Forge Town Council moved on to regular business. The first order of business was to approve the minutes for October 10, 2023, which the council voted unanimously for. Then it was approving the department reports for code enforcement, the police department, public works, the library, water plant, and fire department. The recommendation was to approve the reports as submitted and written, which went through unanimously.
It was then time to move on to more festive topics of conversation. Namely, the Clifton Forge Christmas Parade and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Clifton Forge Christmas Parade, at the request of Clifton Forge Main Street, is currently scheduled for Friday, December 1, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. The request was to close off the 400 block of Ridgeway Street to the Clifton Forge Fire Department on D Street for the purpose of having the parade. The Council voted unanimously in favor of allowing the parade. Additionally, they voted unanimously to hold the Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 18th at 6:00 p.m. in front of Town Hall, closing Main Street to D Street as well as Jefferson Avenue, the purpose—as outlined in the agenda this month— being to keep the dancers and spectators safe.
The council also approved the resolution to set the allocation percentage for Personal Property Tax Relief for the 2023 Tax Year. This was voted unanimously by the Town Council.
When no discussion items were mentioned, it was time for the managers’ comments. “This time of year, we kind of slow down on a lot of things, but we’re tying up loose ends,” Clifton Forge Town Manager, Chuck Unroe said. “Earlier this year, we received a, or actually last year, received a $50,000 community-involved developmental grant from Virginia Housing for the Jefferson School Project. We’ve closed that project out…” Unroe stated.
After a brief explanation regarding the closed-out project, it was time for council comments. This included Council Member Benjamin Nicely discussing the town’s Special Olympics team and their recent victories out of town, as well as the members of council thanking Bruns and audience members for coming out. It was also mentioned that Councilwoman Debbie Laudermilk was absent due to a family member requiring surgery.
The meeting was concluded immediately after, with the next scheduled for Tuesday, December 12, at 7:00 p.m.
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