Roanoke County economic development office adds another new face

Roanoke County has added another new face to its office of economic development.

County Administrator Richard Caywood announced last week that Danielle Poe has been hired as assistant director of economic development. She will assume her new post on Monday.

Poe is coming from the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission where she has been the business manager for nearly three years, managing the day-to-day operations within the organization and overseeing risk management strategies.

She also has experience working as an economic development specialist for Downtown Roanoke Inc., the county said.

Poe will work with Megan Baker, who took the lead economic development job last month after coming to Roanoke County from Georgia.

Baker succeeded Jill Loope, the county’s longtime economic development director, who is transitioning to head the county’s tourism department until she retires next July.

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Poe, a Roanoke Valley native, earned a bachelor of science degree from Radford University in exercise, sport, and health education with a concentration in sports administration.

She has a number of affiliations, most notably a Chair of Leadership Roanoke Valley, in addition to the Roanoke Boosters Club and Wasena Elementary School PTA.

Humble Hikes, a program supported by the Roanoke Outside Foundation that aims to expose Black youth to the outdoors, recently received a financial grant from a coalition called Together Outdoors. The funds will support outdoor recreation trips for 20-25 youth per trip, along with collaboration in the Roanoke City Schools for after school programming.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Franklin County for its annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021.

The report was judged by GFOA to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

Newly released monthly data show that hotel revenues in Hampton Roads through the first 10 months of 2022 are 20% higher than the levels observed in the first 10 months of 2019. However, hotel revenues for the commonwealth through October are only 3.1% higher than the levels observed in 2019, according to Old Dominion University‘s Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy

The three largest markets in the state are Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond. They generated about 77% of the commonwealth’s hotel revenue in 2019. The ODU report said although Hampton Roads has more than fully recovered from the pandemic, Northern Virginia significantly lags the pre-pandemic levels.

The latest data also show rooms sold decreased by about 4% in Virginia through October when compared with 2019. Rooms sold through this October compared to 2019 decreased by 16% in the Northern Virginia market, by 8% in the Roanoke market5% in Virginia portion of Bristol/Kingsport market, 3% in the Newport News/Hampton market, 2.5% in the Williamsburg market and 0.2% in the Charlottesville market.

The Norfolk/Portsmouth and Chesapeake/Suffolk markets fared better than other submarkets in Hampton Roads; rooms sold increased by 6.4% and 4.2%, respectively.

“The hotel industry continues to recover in the commonwealth and has more than fully recovered in Hampton Roads,” said Professor Vinod Agarwal of the Dragas Center.

Roanoke Parks and Recreation will be holding a community meeting regarding the redevelopment of Eureka Recreation Center at the Melrose Branch Library Community Room on Tuesday, December 6 from 6 to 7:30 pm

The center in northwest Roanoke is heavily used throughout the year for after school programs as well as athletics and event rentals. The building, constructed in 1965, has what the city recreation department described as “condition issues” including “inadequate recreational spaces and antiquated mechanical/structural systems in various states of disrepair and obsolescence.”

The city recreation department wants to hear from citizens about redeveloping the center and how best to serve the public.

Restoration Housing has completed the historic rehabilitation of their sixth home in Roanoke. The circa-1900 structure located on Stewart Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood of Southeast Roanoke sat vacant for many years before undergoing a major renovation during 2022 and is now serving as affordable rental housing for two families.

The local non-profit organization, led by Elizabeth Thornton, said it subsidized most of the construction costs in order to keep the rents affordable, including funding from the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and the City of Roanoke’s HUD offices. Each project of the organization uses historic tax credits to offset construction costs and keep rents affordable.

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Sandra Torres

Sandra Torres