Vinton plans to grow downtown area

Vinton, Va.- – Pedestrian-friendly roads and more housing are just some of the ideas Vinton town leaders are considering for their downtown action plan.

Town leaders identified eight areas for improvements in Vinton but right now the main focus is downtown. They're hoping to make that area the core of the community.

Vinton is home for Sarah Gatrell. She wants there to be a larger emphasis on making the town more walkable, such as adding crosswalks and sidewalks.

"We live actually very close to the library. But it's not a very safe intersection and the crosswalks there aren't very easy to use. So even though I have a 14-year-old son he's not comfortable crossing the street to get to the library," said Gatrell. 

With all the new businesses and developments making downtown their home the past few years, Gatrell is excited about what's to come

The town wants to keep the area growing by using an urban development grant. People were invited to a public meeting at the Vinton War Memorial to give thoughts and opinions about making the future of downtown come alive even more in the next five years. 

"To introduce them to what we have done so far, (it) is very important we maximize what we have. We are a compact community and we have a lot of properties that are underutilized and vacant. So we like to use existing buildings for redevelopment," Anita Mcmillan, planning and zoning director.