At our previous meeting, Felicia Hart, Director of the Front Royal/Warren County Tourism Community Development, presented an update on tourism in the Town of Front Royal Projects, which was very enlightening.
As Felicia noted, tourism revenue continues to grow. Tourism remains a critical contributor to our local economy in 2019, as it did in 2018. While we may complain about all of the “Leaf Peepers,” they contribute to our economy and save us a lot of money in the long run, so we can put up with the long lines on the weekends because that is money in our pockets. She said that in 2018 tourism revenue for our town and county reached more than $151,300,393, a 4.9 percent increase over 2017. This meant that tourism supported jobs totaling 1,706, while local tourism-related taxes were $2,922,849. This had a major impact on each of us and on our pocketbooks. Each of the 40,003 households in our town and county paid almost $200 less in state and local taxes because of tourism.
She noted that we are now part of the Appalachian Mural Trail Program, with the appearance of a local mural off of Main Street now. We are also offering incentives to the thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail, who are stopping in town, taking pictures at the mural. They then can receive benefits from our local merchants. It is a win-win for all of us.
As part of the town’s development program, we are also able to offer incentives to start-up businesses. As a result, zoning permits are up over past years, as are applications for business licenses.
Our community is also involved in a community-block-grants program. We will spend approximately $219,680 for development of the town plaza; $640,00 for the facade improvement program; $400,000 on the Royal Shenandoah Greenway; $28,500 for our Streetscape Improvement Design; $56,500 for parking and alley improvements; $162,000 for new signage (and they look great); and $44,400 for Branding and Marketing, including ads in Southern Living, Golf, and Blue Ridge Outdoors magazines. As she noted, the return on our investment was tremendous – for $130,000 we received more than $1.6 million.
We have also updated the town’s website, become active on social media, prepared a Visitors’ Center Guide, built lighted sign boxes in the downtown area; constructed slat wall installations for brochures; and are constructing a new Kiosk outside the Visitor’s Center, all completed or to be completed by the end of 2019.
Our invitation to our visitors is “Come Play in Our Backyard,” and Felicia has worked tirelessly to be sure they are welcomed. For her complete program and to learn more about the Rotary Club of Warren County, please go to www.warrencountyrotary.org or watch here:
Real estate and community news with Jen Avery, REALTOR
This year I would like to add community news to the Warren County Market Reports every month. We have several upcoming events to put on your calendar!
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
- Women’s Wellness Workshop – February 5 from 9am to 1pm | Virtual
- Visit this link to register: frontroyalwomenswellness.com
- YOU MUST RSVP to receive the Zoom Link
- Presented by Front Royal Women’s Resource Center & The Phoenix Project
- Sponsored by Valley Health and Friends of Samuels Library.
- Virtual event jampacked with amazing presenters/workshops from 21st Century Investing to Movement, Creativity, Nutrition and so much more. Goodie bags with information, tools and of course goodies for the first 50 who sign up.
House of Hope
- Empty Bowl Supper
- date to be determined soon!
Humane Society of Warren County
- Polar Plunge – January 15 at 11am | 4H Center Lake
- Interested in sponsoring a plunger? Please help our local animal shelter care for all of our animals needing a forever home. Visit this site for all details: hswcevents.org/polar-plunge
Rotary Club of Warren County
- Ride With Rotary – April 5 starting around 9am with staggered start times | Rockland Park
- New fundraiser brought to you by the Rotary Club of Warren County. Beneficiaries for the ride are Reaching Out Now and Cars Changing Lives. 4 ride routes, all ages and all riding experience levels.
- Event link: https://fb.me/e/1ngbJweEg
- Registration will begin early February.
- Sponsorships are needed. Contact Ellen Aders for more information on sponsorship levels. Great way to get a little exposure for your company!
Logan Maiatico Foundation
- Alfredo Birthday Dinner Fundraiser – January 29 from 5:30-8:30 | Front Royal Volunteer Fire Hall
- The Logan Maiatico Foundation has been established to continue the legacy of Logan Maiatico, Logan was loved by all of his friends, family and community and was known for spreading love to everyone he interacted with.
- Enjoy alfredo birthday dinner, Logan’s favorite meal! Ten dollars per person paid at the door. All proceeds will go to the Logan Maiatico Foundation in memory of Logan. Interested in swag? Visit: thestitchesandbows.com/live-like-logan
- We See You, Warren County – sign up (free) online to join this “movement” to help bring our community together. Follow on Facebook! You are going to love it! #WeCUWC
Warren County Market Report for December 2021 with Jen Avery, REALTOR
Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for December 2021. We are back in the green. Numbers have climbed during December. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!
In general summary:
- New Listings are UP 17.8%.
- New Pending UP 1.9%.
- Closed sales are UP 12.9%
- Average Median Sold $333,450
- Average Days on Market 31
*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resource: December 2021 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated January 2022.
Jennifer Avery, REALTOR® “Your Happy Home Expert!”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
email@example.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St, Winchester VA 22601 | 540-662-0400
New $3,000 grant from Crescent Cities Charities helps House of Hope continue good work
The House of Hope is so excited to send a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to Crescent Cities Charities, Inc. Last week they were hand delivered a grant check for $3,000. The House of Hope is so grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to growing their relationship with Crescent Cities Charities in the future.
Please take a minute to learn more about Crescent Cities Charities, Inc: cccharities.org
A few impressive numbers to share:
- 88 graduating high school seniors will be receiving $236,500 in Crescent Cities Charities Scholarships.
- Charitable Grant Contributions totaling over One Million Dollars to date. Take a minute to visit this link and review the awardees… some AMAZING organizations doing AMAZING work in our world! Ranging from supporting retired veterans, protecting Police K-9’s from street drugs, environmental health projects, to reading programs, wreaths for veterans, and prevention of blindness efforts. cccharities.org/awardees
A Christmas Tale – Front Royal to Kentucky – over $25,000 in toys sent for Christmas!
To Kentucky with Love…
PROJECT: Christmas in Kentucky was a huge success!
We did it! The community of Warren County, surrounding areas, and friends & family from all over the country came together to help the children (and teens) of Kentucky have Christmas. As many of you are aware, there was a devastating tornado that ripped through parts of Western Kentucky on December 11. Homes, schools, churches, businesses were all destroyed. Families are left with nothing. A group from Warren County decided the children of Western Kentucky (Mayfield) WILL have toys for Christmas! Over $25,000 worth of toys were delivered Sunday, Dec 19th.
It all started with a phone call from Robert Hupman to Ellen Aders on Sunday morning. Hupman to Aders, “OK, what are we gonna do?” The two decided TOYS. By Sunday evening Jen Avery was put on the mission to spread the word in a BIG way to everyone who might be interested in saving Christmas for Kentucky kids! The three made a quick video and hit social media, newspapers, and the radio. Hupman dropped a trailer off at Aders Insurance Agency as the DROP SITE for new unwrapped toys. Monday morning, PROJECT: Christmas in Kentucky started receiving a steady stream of toy deliveries, the first at 7:30 am. Jen set up an Amazon gift list to make shopping easy by giving folks the option to ship directly to the drop site. Finally, cash was accepted, and the gang of elves would later shop to turn the cash into gifts. (Over 100 gift cards to Apple, Steam, Nintendo, and Google were sent by using the cash donations.)
Local Rotary clubs immediately jumped in to help support the efforts. The Rotary Club of Front Royal and the Rotary Club of Northern Shenandoah Valley: Area ONE/ders each offered a $500 toy match to challenge the community and other Rotary clubs. Those matches were hit within just the first two days! The Rotary Club of Warren County showed their support with over half of the club donating toys.
Because there was an Amazon gift list this project received support from all over. There were no limitations as long as the delivery date was before 5 pm Saturday night. We thank everyone who supported this project from the bottom of our hearts. However, we would like to take a minute for a few special shout-outs. A father/son team pulled up from Virginia Hills Church with a trailer full of donations. As the pair opened the back of the trailer…it was absolutely full, an amazing sight! Thank you! The Hope for Appalachia Virginia Team had two separate drops with gifts prepared like professionals. This crew gets a lot of practice every year because of the work they do in poverty-stricken Appalachia schools.. (If you don’t know about their work, check out this website: https://hfavateam.com.) Another huge thank you!
After a long week of collecting toys, Kahle Magalis (Front Royal Police Department – Chief of Police) was our shining star as he used sophisticated Tetris skills to stock the trailer with over 50 LARGE size packing boxes from Lowes. On top of the packing boxes, blankets, stuffed animals, and smaller boxes of toys were stacked. Robert Hupman, the toy delivery man, rolled up in his pickup truck Saturday afternoon. The packing elves (Jen Avery, Kahle Magalis, and helper Gordon), stuffed his back seat full of bags of toys and the bed of his pickup truck with food donations that had come in. There was only space for Robert to pick up his co-pilot Terrence Johnson!
Away the truck and trailer went at about 5:20 pm, Saturday night. Robert and TJ did a great job taking videos and pictures of their journey. The footage is in the video attached to this story and on this google album link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QadmSkKy2rubaiFx8. As the two approached Mayfield, Hupman recalls, “the destruction was emotional.” He explained the landscape looked ok at first, then they turned a corner and saw where the tornado had hit. He also remarked how random the destruction was in some parts. Five or six homes were torn to the foundation, then there would be one neighbor untouched. The tornado bent trees on their sides and broke mobile homes in half.
The two Santa helpers arrived at Mayfield Middle School on Sunday, Dec 19 at about 3 pm. A group referred to as the Cajun Navy helped unload all of the toys into the middle school music room. The plan is to hold these toys and distribute them carefully to families who need them. Hupman explained that the Cajun Navy was getting ready to cook for the people who had gathered for shelter at the middle school location. They are known for their delicious cajun-style food!
Next Terrence and Robert traveled to the Mayfield High School to drop off a food donation. There they met Mr. Rudy, the high school janitor, featured in one of the photos. Mr. Rudy went to the high school the night of the tornado and has not been home since. He has been working with Memphis Fire and Rescue volunteers who traveled out to help set up emergency relief stations. Hupman spoke of an older couple he saw come in after hours, Mr. Rudy allowed them to go to the station that had baby diapers. They obviously were trying to help a family with young children. This act of kindness tells us a lot about Mr. Rudy.
Christmas has been saved for a lot of children and teens because of PROJECT: Christmas in Kentucky. Please know YOU have made a difference. Hupman shared that he met people from 15 different states on his journey. A message Robert wanted us back home to realize, “helping your fellow brother or sister is still first and foremost.” We should feel good knowing that even with all the uncertainty in the world these days, people’s hearts are still in the right place. Robert and Terrence returned home to Warren County, Monday, Dec 20 about 6:30 pm
Please visit the event site (discussion tab) on Facebook to follow all of the posts created during the week of toy collections: https://fb.me/e/1xrrEuVVU
See this album for pictures and video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QadmSkKy2rubaiFx8
Rotary Club of Warren County spreads cheer this season
The Rotary Club of Warren County has been busy with several holiday projects!
Gift Bags to Skyline Middle School
20 gift bags have been filled with gifts for middle school students in need this Christmas.
Cards to Seniors
Groups of club members have been writing cards to our local senior living facilities to help spread holiday cheer.
Salvation Bell Ringing
Saturday, December 11 the Rotary Club of Warren County took their turn ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outside of Rural King. The club does this activity almost every year and really enjoys it! This year Michael Williams invited a few of his Early Act students from E Wilson Morrison Elementary School.
Sponsorship to Library
Michelle Smeltzer, Service Committee Chair delivered a check for $1,000 to the Samuels Public Library to help keep the amazing work the library does for our community going! New services have been added since Covid to keep everyone connected, entertained, and educated.
Sponsorship to Able Forces – Adopt a Warrior Family
The Rotary Club of Warren County is so very pleased to donate every holiday season to Able Forces Professional Services for their Christmas Adopt A Warrior Family. Skip Rogers is featured in this picture with Rotarian, Carol Hardy! Thank you Skip for this wonderful program! Sharing joy and hope!
If these projects sound like something you would be interested in and you would like to learn more, visit our website: www.warrencountyrotary.org. Our club meets at 7 am on Wednesday mornings. #serviceaboveself
PROJECT: Christmas In Kentucky
On December 11, 2021, Western Kentucky experienced a record breaking natural disaster devastating churches, homes, businesses and anything that stood in its path. All has been destroyed beyond what we are even capable of imagining. As the grown-ups struggle to process what has just happened, the children are left hoping. The children are hoping for normal to return. Hoping for smiles, laughter and joy.
Christmas is one of the most joy-filled times of all and is fast approaching! These beautiful children are most certainly still anticipating Santa and hoping for a toy. Sadly, they are probably worried he won’t know how to find them since so many will NOT be in their homes. Let’s keep this Christmas MAGIC alive for the children of Mayfield and Western Kentucky by sending them toys!
Robert Hupman of Hazard Mill Farms will be delivering Christmas toys to the children of Western Kentucky next weekend! He will depart on Sunday, leaving us one short week to round up as many toys as we can to stuff his 6×18 trailer. Robert has parked the trailer at Ellen Aders’ office, Aders Insurance Agency (23 Church Street, Front Royal, VA 22630). Please donate unwrapped toys for boys and girls. We welcome you to shop online and have the toys shipped directly to drop address if it makes it easier.
The American Red Cross will help with the coordination of the toys once Robert lands in Kentucky. The gifts will then make their way to shelters and churches for Christmas morning.
Cash donations are accepted. Someone will go shopping for you! Ellen’s office will be able to collect donations from 9:00 am -7:00pm this week and on Saturday, Dec 18th, from 9am – 5pm.
Let’s help keep the spirit of Christmas strong in the hearts of those who experienced this devastation!
To make it easy, click this link for the Christmas in Kentucky gift list: Amazon Wish List
PLEASE note the delivery date. It needs to arrive by December 18th, 5pm. Thank you!
DROP OFF SITE:
Aders Insurance Agency
23 Church St, Front Royal, VA 22630
Monday – Friday | 9am – 7pm
Saturday | 9am – 5pm
Blue Ridge Association of Realtors 60th installation of Officers & Directors
The Blue Ridge Association of Realtors hosted their 60th annual installation last week at IJ Cann’s in Winchester. This year the installing officer was Katrina Smith, VAR’s 2022 President-Elect. Catch the swearing in at approximate (3:58 time) in the video.
Enjoy highlights of the evening, including Tim Shamblin giving a brief farewell speech (3:30 time) as past President of 2021. Eleven past Presidents line up to pass the gavel to Traci Shoberg, 2022 President of the Board. What an amazing moment (6:53 time)!
Introducing the newly voted in Officers & Directors that will join the 2022 Board of Directors of the Blue Ridge Association of Realtors:
- Traci Shoberg – President 2022
- Meghan Pachas – President-Elect 2023
- Don O’Wade – Vice President 2022
- Amanda Whitson – Secretary / Treasurer 2022-2023
- Brendan Murphy – Director 2021-2023
- Caroline Barb – Director 2022-2024
Existing 2022 Board of Directors:
- Jeff Boppe – Director 2021-2022
- Jaclyn Fleet – Director 2020-2022
- Paul Gallagher – Director 2021-2023
- Al Stitt – Director 2020-2022
- Marissa Varley – Director 2021-2023
- Dan Whitacre – Director 2021-2023
- Tim Shamblin – Past President
Special thank you to event sponsors, Integrity Home Mortgage, Bank of Clarke County, Dr. Dave Leadership Corp and Homespire Mortgage and other Affiliate event sponsors. In-Kind Affiliates Lauri Bridgeforth of Bridgeforth Photography and Jen Avery of Jenspiration, LLC for photographing and video.