America’s Best In Lynchburg Virginia – Business View magazine interviewed a representative from Lynchburg, Virginia, as part of our focus on best practices in American cities and towns.
Lynchburg, Virginia is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and less than 50 square miles on the banks of the James River. Known as the “City of Seven Hills” or the “Mountain City”, it has a population of 75,568 according to the 2010 census, which is expected to increase to 82,126 in 2018, making it one of the fastest growing cities. Virginia.
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Lynchburg is named after its founder, John Lynch, who at the age of 17 started a ferry service across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London. The “City of Seven Hills” quickly grew along the hillsides near Lynch’s Ferry. The Virginia General Assembly recognized Lynchburg in 1786, then incorporated Lynchburg as a city in 1805, and as a city in 1852.
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To avoid many visitors to Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson, in 1806, created an arboretum and retirement home near Lynchburg, called Poplar Forest. He visited the city several times, and declared: “Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be useful to the city of Lynchburg.” I think it’s the most special place in the state.”
Lynchburg became a tobacconist, then a merchant, and then an industrial center. In the 1850s, Lynchburg was one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States, using first the river, then the railroad, to transport goods. The city limits were expanded in 1874, and at the end of the 19
In the 19th century, Lynchburg supported manufacturing (the city is sometimes called the “Pittsburgh of the South”). In 1880, Lynchburg resident James Albert Bonsack invented the first cigarette rolling machine. By the city’s centennial in 1886, banking activity has increased six times from its 1860 level.
Lynchburg has ten recognized historic districts, four of which are in residential areas of the city. Since 1971, 40 private buildings have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Especially since 2002, the city of Lynchburg has seen a significant revitalization, with hundreds of high-rises created through the appropriate use of historic warehouses and factories. Since 2000, the city has attracted more than $110 million in private investment, and business activity grew 205 percent from 2004 to 2014. In 2014, 75 new apartments were added to the city, and 155 other units are under construction, construction, and increase the number. house From 2010 to 2014, the city unit was 48%.
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In 2015, the $5.8 million Lower Bluffwalk pedestrian area opened. Notable projects downtown through the end of 2015 include the $25 million Virginia Hotel restoration project, the $16.6 million restoration of the Academy Performing Arts Center, and the $4.6 million expansion of the Amazement Square Children’s Museum.
Lynchburg offers a strong workforce, a low unemployment rate, and a below-average cost of living. Lynchburg MSA industries include nuclear technology, pharmaceuticals, and materials handling. The variety of small businesses in the area help keep the local economy stable and mitigate the decline in the national economy.
Lynchburg has been ranked in the Top 10 Cities survey by population since the survey began in 2004. Once again in 2019, Lynchburg ranked #1 in the population category (75,000 – 124,999), 16 .
For consecutive years Lynchburg has been ranked in the top 10 nationally and for the fourth time ranked first in the population category.
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He spoke with Deputy City Manager Reid Wodicka and Assistant Director of Economic Development and Tourism Anna Bentson about Lynchburg’s recent growth and future prospects.
Bentson said, “In 2018, the Office of Economic Development and Tourism launched our five-year strategic plan, Blueprint for Opportunity. country. to work with the board of directors of the institution. This plan is based on five strategic areas of implementation”.
“The first is to preserve and expand our industrial cluster,” Bentson continued. “Economic development is often about attractions, and we certainly do that in partnership with our regional trade associations, but we believe that the growth of businesses there allows the city to grow our economy faster and more sustainably.
“Lynchburg is what is called an ‘Eds and Meds’ community. We have five colleges and universities – one of the fastest growing in the country is Liberty University in Lynchburg – and a major regional health care provider. They are major employers, major land owners, and they have all kind of role in workforce development and environmental development, so we dig into that relationship and plan how we can work with our anchors and how they can work together to impact the economy.
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“The third area we focus on creating talent pipelines for our existing industrial cluster, in particular. The fourth is creating space, which is not always near the top of the list of economic development, but I think it starts in small towns: right To build beauty, improve life, invest in arts and culture and entertainment services, etc. All these help businesses and talents to make more accurate decisions than normal economic factors.
“And finally, we focus on marketing and storytelling. How do we differentiate ourselves as a small city as a second or third-tier city? What is our competitive advantage, and how do we market and tell that story? We establish established. communities across the country that we want to see it as our community or a community of ideals.
“Currently, Lynchburg’s population is about 80,000 and growing rapidly; we are actually one of the fastest growing cities in Virginia. We are expected to grow 17 percent by 2040, according to the University of Virginia estimates. Another interesting fact about the city from a demographic perspective: the average age we are 28, so we are a very young city, which I think surprised many people, which certainly speaks to the universities and universities in the area, but also the fact that we are young, the city is growing.
“We have a good mix of tax bases. Colleges and universities and health organizations are non-profit organizations that actually own 23 percent of the city’s land, tax-free. Our target industries, and existing industrial strengths, include high-end manufacturing, especially . metals and fabrication, electronics and transportation systems. We also have two of the largest nuclear engineering companies headquartered in Lynchburg: BWX Technologies Inc. and Framatome. Framatome serves nuclear power plants throughout the Western world, and people who work in reactors nuclear around. The world comes to Lynchburg to train at Framatom. BWXT is the US Navy’s number one supplier of nuclear reactor components. But they’re also developing into exciting areas like nuclear medicine.’
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About the city of Lynchburg, Bentson says, “The city council adopted the Downtown Riverfront Master Plan in 2000 and they gradually said they would budget $1 million a year for 20 years to improve the city’s infrastructure. We must have seen a lot of public investment, where we have done the work roads, replacement of water lines, major infrastructure projects, and several placemaking projects. It spurred private investment. We have seen the value of real estate downtown, alone, more than doubled since 2000, more than a percent 90. will continue with residential units and surrounding restaurants and retail.
“Another goal of the city’s economic development is to attract businesses so that you have good places, good restaurants and retail and a thriving employment center. In 2015, Pacific Life established its east coast headquarters in the city of Lynchburg with about 300 employees and in 2019, CloudFit. Software, a cloud services company, announced the redevelopment of one of the beautiful Art Deco buildings that has been empty for more than 10 years … as its new headquarters. CloudFit will employ approximately 150 people over the next three years. So, along with the factory beers and restaurants that open in between, we are also focused on this work.”
Speaking about revitalizing and reimagining the core of the city, Wodicka said, “We took the opportunity to reimagine the streetscape, which helps with the sense of place in the city. I am a millennial who lives in Lynchburg. I like to walk to work. and go to our bikes. When we changing the station from a place where you have to pass to a place where you want to sleep, we also carry out a lot of basic infrastructure work, which has been important because of age. , but also because there are many improvements in the center of the city where, for example, the electricity network is no longer developed. By therefore, we take this opportunity to ensure that we invest as much as possible in the basic infrastructure that makes for sustainable development and, at the same time, a better place.
“Right now, we’re doing that on Main Street. Working with our electrical supplier, we’re changing the electrical system,