CHRISTIANSBURG – The Christiansburg Town Council invited Regional Tourism Execute Director, David Rotenizer and Tourism Program Assistant, Cheyenne Kees to provide an update on the local tourism website improvements during the town’s regular meeting on April 11.
A tourism travel survey titled “Visitor Profiling and Nature of Demand Study for the NRV” has recently been completed to determine areas of interest for travelers and the purpose of their visits.
Rotenizer called the report “the first post-pandemic study to be done for our region, and probably one of the first studies right now in the whole state, because it just came out.”
The results of this study are part of a rebranding that the tourism office has been working on, in collaboration with New River Valley Partnership, to improve visitor’s access to the region.
Kees presented the New Visitors Guide, which will have both print and virtual components to aid travelers to the area in finding local food, art, entertainment, parks, and accommodations. The QR codes on each page will bring a visitor to the main page of the virtual Visitor Center where they can find timely information on places to visit in the New River Valley. The electronic component of the virtual guide provides added statistical information for the department as well.
“I can track each individual QR code so I know exactly what people are using the visitor’s’ guides for,” said Kees.
The guide includes a map that shows where to find parks, trails, natural water resources and other attractions for people visiting the area. The onboarding process for the Virtual Visitor Center has begun. They hope to be up and running online by next month.
Council member Timothy Wilson addressed Kees concerning the still outdated information on the town’s visitor website.
“It’s nice to finally have that after almost a year waiting for it,” Wilson said. “It is all a tourist has to go to. So, I told you last year that everything on your website promoted Blacksburg more than Christiansburg.”
Rotenizer countered that the new system is cutting edge technology and “worth the wait I think.”
During public address of the meeting, one citizen also thought the visitor information was lacking in content and accessibility.
“Mr. Wilson is right. It’s been almost a year and it’s still…it’s pretty much a joke”, said Chris Waltz of Christiansburg. “If you look for things to do in Montgomery County on Google, Google does a good job of giving you things to do but the tourism website doesn’t even show up until the end of the page.”
In another presentation to council, Human Resources Director Alicia Dials revealed a proposal for an all-inclusive Wellness Program, which includes a new two-hour fitness leave with employee’s department head approval. The results of the 12 selected employees appointed to a planning committee for the proposal provided input to work towards a more comprehensive wellness program. Then a short survey was provided to the employees in the town.
“The survey results, we had 63% overall participation…over half of our employees participated,” Dials said. “Massage by far won out, about 80%. We had a lot of employees that wanted a massage.”
Other popular topics selected by employees included walking and running, hunting and fishing, and financial wellness.
Following a brief discussion, the council voted 6 to 0 in support of the wellness program and the fitness leave.
On another point of discussion during the meeting, council voted 6 to 0 in approval of a recommendation for a tax map revision, which the street committee had also previously approved. Tax Map Nos. 528-((A))91, 528-((45))-15, and 528-((45))-16, will create seven residential plats and one commercial plat located on Gatewood Street in Christiansburg.
Council member Tanya Hockett also presented information concerning a request for Rockstep Christiansburg LLC, who has requested a conditional use permit for a carnival from April 29 through May 17, 2023 at the Uptown Mall location. A public hearing was held on March 28 allowing citizens an opportunity for comment. Council member Johana Hicks made a first motion, with Wilson seconding the motion and council voting 6 to 0 in approval of the conditional use permit.
A reappointment of Barry Helms to the Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority Board of Directors with a term of July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2027 was also approved by the council in a 6 to 0 vote.
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