Blacksburg prepares for final public meeting on downtown strategy

The plan will guide the future of the town

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The town of Blacksburg is preparing for its future with the development of the downtown plan. This will help guide how decisions are made by local government in the years to come.

Monday is the final public meeting on the plan, and the town has done a lot of work so far. People in town also have a number of ideas to go along with leaders' ideas.

Friday night was a busy summer night in one of Southwest Virginia's favorite college towns. And a perfect example of successes already achieved.

"There's been great growth so far, there's certainly opportunity to continue to make it a great town," new Blacksburg resident Stephen Milleson said.

Blacksburg town government is planning to do just that with the downtown strategy. It's a vision for the future of a place ready for what's next.

"I'm from Manassas and we have a downtown area but it's not nearly as vibrant as here," Virginia Tech graduate student Ryan Wesdock said. "You wouldn't see this many people out here on a Friday."

The plan is a four-prong approach to downtown. Goal one and two are to provide a wide spectrum of housing and protect historic assets.

"I would like to see more student and low income housing," Wesdock said. "I think people say there's a lot of that already, (but) there's a lot of students."

Goal three is to position the town to be ready for bigger economic opportunities. Some residents hope that could entice other popular businesses to come too.

"I've noticed from a grocery store perspective, if Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or something of that sort was offering more organic and natural options that would be great," Milleson said.

And goal four is to create a vibrant, livable neighborhood, making streetscapes that will work for all, including those getting around on two wheels.

"There's this huge biking community that's just growing like crazy, we have perfect landscape, perfect weather for it, and the infrastructure is just a couple of steps behind," Montgomery County resident Brenda Winkel said.

Monday's meeting is the final phase, where frameworks will be received. Overall, people in the town are feeling good.

"(We have) a lot of really good intellectual people, a lot of people who care about quality of life, so this could be a center that leads that forward," Winkel said.

The final meeting is Monday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the Blacksburg Community Center off Patrick Henry Drive.


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