The Local

ASHLAND — Ashland Town Council recognized Randolph-Macon College’s contribution to the Ashland community and its 150 years of service at last week’s meeting.

Originally opened in Boydton in 1832 with 30 students, the college purchased land in Ashland in 1868 at the urging of RF&P railroad officials.

In October of that year, the college first opened its Ashland campus.

Council passed a resolution stating that “The Town Council of Ashland Virginia does hereby recognize and congagulate Randolph-Macon College on celebrating 150 years of outstanding educational services in the Center of the Universe.”

R-MC president Dr. Robert Lindgren and communications director Anne Marie Lauranzon accepted the resolution on behalf of the school.

In other matters, Mike Davis, Public Works director, introduced a new operations manager for his department.

The Randolph-Macon graduate told council his welcome to the Ashland team has been warm and friendly and he feels like working in the town “is a blessing.”

In other matters, Mayor Steve Trivett told fellow council members that the first edition of Light up the Tracks! was a huge success and drew many visitors to the Ashland area.

“We had a lot of people show up and brave what could have been some threatening weather,” Trivett said. “We sampled a lot of chili and saw people all over town seeing the lights and taking photos.”

Jake’s Place won the chili contest, and the fun continued Saturday at the Ashland Town Center. Events also are planned for the next two Saturdays in December.

Trivett also updated council regarding ongoing discussions regarding affordable housing, a conversation members began over a month ago and continues this month.

“We been having some community conversations on affordable housing and we will continue to do that,” Trivett said. “Staff is doing more research and fact-finding … trying to learn as much as we can to do what we can, what we should in the way of providing for affordable housing.”

Council member John Hodges said Dan McGraw, Trivett and he recently attended a community meeting regarding the possible consolidation of Henry Clay and John Gandy Elementary Schools.

The coupling would facilitate the closing of Henry Clay and Hodges said there are some concerns regarding the impacts on the neighborhood surrounding that campus.

“It does raise some potential issues about the impact of consolidation on that neighborhood and other areas I’m sure we will want to discuss,” Hodges said.

Council member Kathy Abbott said the Ashland Theatre is close to completion and an opening ceremony is being planned.

“We are marching forward to a grand opening in the next couple of months,” Abbott said. “We remain very excited about opening up that landmark.”

McGraw attended a Train Day thank you dinner and said the response to this year’s event was positive, especially for the businesses that saw increased traffic with the annual event that drew 10,000 visitors. “It helped a lot of our smaller businesses get noticed,” hw said.

George Spagna reminded colleagues that after 51 years of cutting hair in Ashland, Kenny Owens of Owens Barber Shop is retiring.

“The shop will continue operating, but stop by and wish Kenny a happy retirement,” Spagna said. “It’s well deserved.”

Council approved a resolution giving employees a holiday on Monday, Dec. 31, allowing them to enjoy a day before the official holiday on Jan. 1. Town offices will reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

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