By CALVIN PYNN
Tuesday night’s Pulaski Town Council meeting heard the proposal of two resolutions.
One resolution concerned the consolidation of Pulaski Middle School, while the other concerned the reconstruction of Exit 94 off Interstate-81. The council moved to adopt both resolutions.
The council agreed to express their concerns regarding the potential closing of Pulaski Middle School to The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. One of those main concerns was the town’s struggle with repurposing empty buildings, especially considering the school’s prominent location.
“Our beacon on the hill is the middle school,” said council member Gregory East. “It overlooks the entire town, and we’ve got a community full of buildings that are in need of repurposing.”
Another concern presented was the economic impact on the community that the closure could cause. Council member Joseph Goodman specified that closing the school would cut down on the number of citizens commuting in and out of the Town, subsequently hurting town businesses and revenue.
“The economic impact that this could have on our community could be very severe,” said Goodman. “There’s a lot of little transactions that occur with people coming and going, and if you get rid of those, it would be a large loss of income.”
The council discussed the Town’s competitive tax rate as another significant factor, which could cripple Pulaski’s revitalization efforts with the loss of income. The current tax rate gives the Town an edge over neighboring counties when attracting potential residents and business owners.
The council will address these concerns to the Board of Supervisors at the County Administration Building on Monday, Jan. 13 at 7:30 pm.
The council also discussed Resolution 201402, which concerned the reconstruction of Exit-94 off Interstate-81. The council agreed to adopt the resolution, as the Exit has become a safety concern with the increased volume of traffic.
The meeting started off with a presentation from Janet Kester, the program coordinator for Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley.
In her presentation, Kester updated the council on everything the organization is doing, as they are currently helping educate 18 Pulaski residents, nine of which live in the town. Kester also touched on what those residents are specifically learning
“Half are learning to read, or learning to read better,” said Kester. “ The other half are learning English as a second language, or working towards the goal of citizenship.”
Kester also touched on the fact that the Literacy Volunteers are working to broaden their funding and diversify their sources. Right now, the group is partnered with New River Community College, and has started teaching computer literacy to help residents develop potential occupational skills.
Other topics discussed during the meeting included VDOT’s Six Year Plan, upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant, and a planning grant for Kersey Bottom/Case Knife Road area.