News Item Details
County Forms Department of Economic Development
Fincastle, VA – Botetourt County has formed a new Department of Economic Development, incorporating and expanding the functions of the county’s tourism staff. The new department will not only focus on business attraction and expansion for large businesses and the commercial redevelopment of Exit 150 but will also use the knowledge and abilities of staff who have worked with tourism to focus on the needs of the many small businesses in Botetourt County.
This is good news for both tourism and non-tourism related businesses alike.
“This is the right next step for us as we continue to develop and strengthen services to help businesses start and grow in Botetourt -- from the international advanced manufacturer, to the garage start-up, to the family-owned small business,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Leffel.
“Botetourt will be even more successful in growing existing businesses, attracting new businesses, and retaining and drawing creative and talented people to live and work here,” said County Administrator Gary Larrowe.
To head this new department, the county hired Ken McFadyen as the director of economic development. McFadyen brings nearly two decades of experience in local government and economic development to Botetourt in this role. Moreover, he is excited to lead the new combined department.
“This move to include tourism with economic development saves financial resources, eliminates redundancy, and allows a staff of four, along with the county administration and board of supervisors, to work collectively and more effectively on economic development,” said McFadyen.
“The commercial redevelopment of Exit 150 also requires dedicated county staff to work with the Virginia Department of Transportation, involved property owners and potential commercial developers and retailers,” said McFadyen. “By creating a department of economic development, Botetourt County is leveraging its assets and capacity to better serve the county’s businesses and residents.”
The opportunity for the new department was created out of a recent passing of a two percent increase in the transient occupancy tax during Virginia’s General Assembly’s 2016 session.
“In light of the current revenue forecast for the Commonwealth, I'm excited to see Botetourt's desire to grow interest in both tourism and economic development. The valley is in a great position to continue to grow, and we have in place most of the necessary infrastructure to support that growth,” said Delegate Terry Austin.
The transient occupancy tax increase is designated for direct marketing by the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau (doing business as Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge), which will use it and other resources in attracting visitors to the region, including Botetourt County. This shifting of roles in external marketing and promotion allows the department’s employees to focus on additional economic development needs and opportunities within the county.
Key aspects of the county’s new approach to economic development focus on asset, workforce, agriculture, and small business development in addition to recruiting businesses to the Botetourt Center at Greenfield.
For more information, contact
Cody Sexton, County Administrator's Office