Jill Loope. Courtesy of Roanoke County.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org.

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Roanoke County economic development director to retire

Economic Development Director Jill Loope will retire next year  following a 22-year career with Roanoke County.  

Prior to retirement, Loope will assist county leaders as they launch a nationwide search for her successor. She plans to retire effective July 1, 2023.

She has generated  thousands of jobs and over $1 billion in capital investment over her 31-year career, according to a release from the county.

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Youngkin announces GO Virginia grants

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced more than $10.2 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant awards for 13 projects focused on expanding talent pipelines in key industries, strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems, and developing business-ready sites while supporting regional economic growth through localities, public entities and private businesses, according to a release from the governor.

Here are the ones in our region:

Workforce and Entrepreneurship Initiatives in a Regional Makerspace | $324,000
Region 2: Counties of Bedford and Campbell, and the city of Lynchburg

Vector Space will facilitate the implementation of expanded programming and equipment centered around workforce development and entrepreneurship for underserved populations. Entrepreneur support will include access to equipment and training for startups, as well as professional support services for prototyping. To support workforce development needs in the materials and machinery cluster, Vector Space will partner with HireLynchburg and Virginia Career Works to implement a 12-week Women in Machining Program.

United Way of Southwest Virginia Employer-Sponsored Child care Benefit, 2022 | $269,406
Region 1: Counties of Tazewell and Smyth

United Way of Southwest Virginia will increase the pool of workers available and mitigate employer challenges brought on by the pandemic by piloting a program that will expand the capacity of the child care industry, encourage manufacturers to be active participants in the solution and address costs through the development of an employer-sponsored benefit program. This project will fill or retain 76 jobs and serve 25 organizations through the Regional Shared Service Alliance.

Shenandoah Valley Small Business Resiliency Teams (SBRT) Round 2 | $100,000
Region 8: Counties of Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren, and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg and Winchester

The Small Business Resiliency Team (SBRT), consisting of Harrisonburg Economic Development, Frederick County Economic Development, Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center and Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center, will enable Business Resiliency Navigators to work with the small business community and assist in the specific areas of e-commerce, finance and operational systems. This project will help participating businesses focused on successful growth strategies by providing resources, workforce training and marketing assistance.

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Road in Roanoke County will be closed

Beginning July 5, Route 760 (Diuguids Lane) in Roanoke County will be closed to through traffic for approximately 45 days to replace the bridge over the Roanoke River, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The bridge is located at the Salem city limits near Route 760’s intersection with Route 639 (West Riverside Drive).

For the majority of the 45-day closure, traffic can detour using West Riverside Drive and Mill Lane. However, there will be two, three-day periods when a large crane will be in use at Diuguids Lane and West Riverside Drive, so this intersection will need to be closed temporarily.

On those days when the large crane is in use, drivers will need to use Creekside Drive and Lilly Drive to detour. The crane is expected to be at the intersection on July 6, 7 and 8 and require that traffic use the alternate detour route between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day. During these hours, flaggers will control traffic on Lilly Drive to allow drivers to alternate using one open lane.

Between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., flaggers will control traffic at the West Riverside Drive intersection while the crane is present.

For three days later in July to be determined, the crane is anticipated to impact the West Riverside Drive intersection again. The same traffic pattern will be implemented on those days with drivers using Creekside Drive and Lilly Drive between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and flaggers controlling traffic on Lilly Drive.

Signs and message boards will be posted to alert drivers to the changes. In addition, signs will be in place to alert drivers to the detour routes.

The bridge replacement project is expected to be completed this fall.