Highland County Board of Supervisors June 2023 Meeting – pt 2

This is part two of our story on the Highland County Board of Supervisors June meeting.

The Board heard a presentation on the work of the Rural Community Development Initiative.  Betty Mitchell, the Economic Development Officer for the Highland Economic Development Authority, explained that the RCDI group is made up of the EDA, The Highland Center, the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Council.  The group has created a Strategic Plan and has drawn up over twenty strategies, that fit with the objectives of the recently adopted county Comprehensive Plan.  Elizabeth Lohr-Myers, Executive Director of The Highland Center, explained that the organizations each looked at their individual goals, found areas of overlap and then made plans to work together on the goals.  She said the main goal is to attract more visitors and to offer them a welcoming experience with the end goal of finding more full-time residents to move to Highland, especially young families.  Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Swecker spoke about the six key areas the groups identified to work on: revitalizing The Highland Inn, encouraging the small business community, engaging the visitor experience, promoting community events, coordinating marketing with a resident attraction program and broadening and sharing among civic leadership.

Chris Swecker also handed out new Highland advertising materials, such as brochures, rack cards and flyers.  The Chamber received $30,000 in funding from the Virginia Tourism Corporation that it is using to create those materials and new signage around the county.  Swecker said the signage project is in response to comments from visitors about not knowing how to get around the county.  Signs are being designed for the intersections of Route 220 and 250 in Monterey, Doe Hill Road and Route 250 in McDowell, Blue Grass Valley Road and Route 220, Route 220 and 84 and also for Spruce Street, designating The Highland Center.   Signs featuring individual business names are also being considered, with the possibility of businesses renting space on them.   Work is also continuing with the Forest Service at the Confederate Breastworks on the placement of a welcome sign containing information about Highland.

It was reported that the proposed acquisition of the Hayfields Farm property is moving ahead.  Part one of the review process has been completed and DEQ reported that comments recently submitted contained no environmental constraints that would prohibit development of the property.  Part two of the review process will focus on the development of the property.

The Board voted to follow the recommendation from the Circuit Court Judge, to close the Circuit Court on Monday, July 3 for an additional holiday.

And the Board set it’s annual Close-Out and Budget Amendment meeting for Tuesday, June 27, at  7:30pm at the Highland Modular Conference Center.

To hear part one of this story on the Highland County Board of Supervisors June meeting, visit our website www.alleghenymountainradio.org

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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