Economic Development Year in Review 2021

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Our Staff

Jill Loope, Director

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Joe Zielinski, Specialist

Marshall Stanley, Specialist


The Roanoke County EDA is an essential 10-member Board providing guidance and leadership for economic development initiatives in the County.

EDA Members Vinton District Steve Musselwhite, Chairman Barry Thompson

Windsor Hills District Woody Windley, Vice-chair Ssunny Shaw

Hollins District Greg Apostolou Max Beyer

Cave Spring District Steve Anderson Mike Cagle

Catawba District Kirtesh Patel Kyle Richardson

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Communities across the world changed as a result of COVID-19, creating widespread negative economic effects to supply chains, workforce availability, and regulatory disruptions. Businesses had to pivot and get creative with not only how they were going to handle hard times, but also how they plan for the future. To ensure Roanoke County moves forward to match the innovation and trends of the business community, Roanoke County Economic Development (RCED) began the process of strategic planning in 2021 to develop ELEVATE 2026. ELEVATE 2026 is Roanoke County's strategic plan for economic growth over the next five years. RCED leveraged grant funding from AEP to work with the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement to develop the Plan. Over 350 survey respondents helped provide feedback for what Roanoke County has done well, what needs to be changed, and what the stakeholders and residents would like to see Roanoke County make its economic priorities.

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Stakeholder & public surveys

Work sessions

Stakeholder interviews

Focus groups

Steering Team, EDA & Planning Commission presentations


Value and Invest in Industry and Business

Value and Invest in People and Opportunity

Value and Invest in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Value and Invest in Place and Quality of Life

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Friendship Health & Rehab opened the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) on their North campus in Hollins. The TCU provides a more modern, dignified approach to senior care by providing additional privacy and activities for residents, as well as an on-campus restaurant open to the public.

LewisGale broke ground for their second free-standing ER in Roanoke County to help provide critical services to residents in the Bonsack area.

Vistar Eye Center broke ground for a new 26,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility on Airport Road.

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Roanoke County Economic Development (RCED) celebrates the successes of local businesses and helps provide assistance and resources that support the economic growth within the County. To market Roanoke as a competitive and robust community, RCED reaches audiences using the Roanoke County Business Partners (RCBP) brand across platforms.

By the Numbers RCBP segments & PSAs

RCBP newsletter & target email campaigns

featuring businesses and partner resources

highlighting business success and resources

Workshops

facilitating assistance and receiving feedback from the community and stakeholders

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Proclamations, Certificates, and Ribbon-cuttings recognizing and celebrating business achievements

Economic Gardening RCED and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership introduced 3 eligible County businesses, Pavement Stencil Company, Magnets USA, and Blue Ridge Color Company, to the resources of the National Center for Economic Gardening at no cost to the businesses or the County. The companies stated that the program saved them money they had planned to spend on data provided free by the Center and that the research had given them new ways to identify industry trends and sales leads and to market their products.

Leveraged for Roanoke County businesses through the Economic Gardening program

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The Reimagine 419 Town Center Plan won "The Best Idea for the Valley's Future" in the Best of Roanoke 2021 awards featured in Roanoker magazine

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The Town of Vinton paved the way for business expansions, redevelopment projects, and placemaking this past year with many projects revitalizing the downtown area. The Town and County partnered in three new redevelopment projects, including Gish Mill, a new hotel, and Vinyard Station.

Expansions and Attractions

Rosie's Gaming Emporium opened the doors to their $28 million expansion which includes a 3-story parking garage, concert venue, and full-service bar and restaurant.

Cardinal IG celebrated an $8 million expansion creating 60 new jobs with the help of the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

Bank of Botetourt celebrated the grand opening of a new 2,600 sq. ft. branch in downtown Vinton.

Downtown Vinton facilitated a 100-room hotel development project operated by a national brand at the intersection of South Pollard, Cedar and First streets.

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Award-Winning Success The Vinton Business District Revitalization Projects won the Excellence in Economic Development and 2021 Innovation awards from the International Economic Development Council and the Virginia Association of Counties. The projects include the Billy Byrd Apartments; the Roland E. Cook Lofts; the former Vinton Library; Vinyard Station; and Gish Mill. The 5 projects account for $21.7 million in capital investment and 130 jobs created.

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Career & Technical Education Career & Technical Education (CTE) in Roanoke County Public Schools prepares students with career-readiness and real work experience. Students enrolled in CTE courses in Roanoke County acquire a better understanding of employer expectations and can partner with local employers through the Registered Apprenticeship program.

Burton Center for Arts & Technology The Burton Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT) is Roanoke County's premier hub for CTE and prepares students to enter the workforce as career-ready individuals ready to contribute to the economy.

Certifications obtained by students in 2020 - 2021 school year

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of all new jobs will require CTE skills

in the Roanoke MSA between 2018 and 2028

Industry sectors requiring CTE

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are among Roanoke County's largest economic drivers


Entrepeneurship & Small Business Development RCED supports local entrepreneurship & small business development by partnering with local organizations such as the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, The Advancement Foundation, and similar institutions through funding, in-kind donations, and delivering letters of support. The Gauntlet, a regional business development program and competition powered by The Advancement Foundation, graduated 20 Roanoke County businesses in 2021.

Moving Williamson Road Forward The Greater Williamson Road Area Business Association (GWRABA) celebrated 40 years in service and their relocation to a new office building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Strengthening Opportunity Wood Haven Technology Park is a 110-acre planned technology park in proximity to I-581 and I-81. The Opportunity Zone Prospectus was developed to market the business-ready site and Roanoke area assets to future investors.

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Outdoor recreation and community health became important elements in economic development planning in 2021. Strategic investment in Roanoke County's existing outdoor & natural assets are essential for future economic and quality of life.

Catawba Sustainability Center RCED supports the Catawba Sustainability Center to build upon Roanoke County's large agricultural landscape and community to foster agricultural innovation. The partnership between Roanoke County and Virginia Tech to operate the Catawba Sustainability Center is helping to develop the next generation of farmers and conservationists by providing interdisciplinary hands-on teaching and research to students. The 377-acre farm property has a mission to "meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future."

Greenway Development The Catawba Greenway opened in 2021, providing a trail through the Catawba Sustainability Center and connecting to the Appalachian Trail near McAfee Knob. This greenway provides new opportunities for agritourism, economic development, and recreation in the Catawba Valley. Also developed was the new section of the Glade Creek Greenway in Vinton, eventually connecting Vinton with the Roanoke River Greenway and the rest of the greenway system.

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(2010-2020)

Increase in population % growth rate 4.9%

Growth in Professional, Scientific & Technical services

Real dollar4.9 increase in % per capita income

Employment growth in Advanced Materials Manufacturing

Increase in employment

Real dollar increase in median household income

Growth in the Healthcare industry

Roanoke County among the Healthiest Communities in US News & World Report’s Healthiest Communities for 2021

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