Pulaski: Redefining the Future
The County of Pulaski has a new vision: to be known as a place with abundant jobs, plenty of housing, and recreation opportunities for everyone - and after years of planning, it's ready to come to fruition. In the County's 40x30 Vision, the focus is on development that will lead to 40,000 residents in the county by 2030, and they might be on the right track.
The NRV is plagued with lack of affordable housing, so the first prong of the new Pulaski plan is to encourage developments to meet that need. They're focusing on encouraging development near interstate access and along an easy straight-shot corridor of route 11 to Peppers Ferry or Radford. The County is currently working with developers to create a projected $250,000,000 in residential and commercial sites that could yield up to 1300 new and diverse residential units.
Having residential units could help ease the wallet strain of many home buyers in the NRV, but schools are still the major deciding factors for where families live. In Fall 2020 the new state of the art Pulaski Middle School will open. It is the most technologically advanced middle school in the NRV and will have expanded curricular options that aren't available at other schools like culinary arts, mechatronics (a cross disciplinary engineering field), and theater. You read that right - middle schoolers can take classes in culinary arts and program robots.
It's not surprising these things will be available since kids get an early start on career and skills building at the newly renovated elementary schools. They are a great place for children to participate in new clubs to develop their interests in a variety of areas, such as theater, robotics, military cadets, law enforcement, dance, local history, community service, construction, first responders and agriculture, as well as receive a solid foundation for their education.
Pulaski High School isn't being left behind either. The 2020 class of Freshman will be able to pursue a prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma, something not offered at any other school in the NRV. According to the IB Organization, "The programme aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically." The IB distinction means students from Pulaski High will have a significant boost to their college applications.
For those interested in trades, the Career and Tech programs are second to none in the area. According to County Administrator Jonathon Sweet, "Pulaski County students are receiving instruction and pursuing certifications in subject areas that are only provided sporadically or not at all throughout the rest of the region such as welding, cybersecurity, criminal justice, auto-body repair, television-media production, basic electricity, and pharmacy technicians." As of Fall 2020, all graduates can attend New River Community College debt free as part of the ACCE Program. Once students earn an Associates Degree at NRCC, they can transfer to any state school, including Virginia Tech and Radford University to finish a Bachelors degree in a major of their choice in 2 years.
QUALITY OF LIFE
While Pulaski County is making good on their vision of affordable housing and great schools, the area is already full of great opportunities to live a great quality of life. Plans are already underway to make the most of what already exists.
Pulaski County is home to Claytor Lake and the fishing, hiking, camping, and sport that is part of the area and Claytor Lake State Park. The county is also adding to the New River Trail. They're also making major upgrades to the summer favorite swimming spot, Randolph Park, and are bringing back the spectacular holiday light show: DAK Lights again.
If improving existing parks isn't enough, the County is already in the works creating a community park in Hiawassee and another in Dublin. They're adding 2 new community parks in Fairlawn, including one that is 100 acres. Pulaski is creating the infrastructure so that visitors can enjoy the mountains, lakes, and rolling fields in between. All of this will be complete by 2021. Rome might not have been built in a day, but this new Pulaski sure is progressing quickly.
If parks aren't your thing, the troupe that performs at the Pulaski Theater will keep you entertained. Or if you want a little more noise, head to the Motor Mile Speedway for your adrenaline fix. And don't forget, the golfing at the Pete Dye River Course is one of the best in the region.
Pulaski County isn't just looking to be a bedroom community for the "Burgs". Already the home to 9 international companies, like Volvo, a commerce park, and regional airport, the County finished 1st overall in Job Creation, 2nd overall in New Capital Investment per capita during 2019, out of all 95 counties and 38 independent cities within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Joseph Guthrie, Chair of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors said “We have one of the best economic development teams in Virginia, and they have been working ... to support our existing businesses and industries to create jobs and encourage investment.”
In the last 3 years more than 1450 new jobs have been announced for the County. That's together with $475 million in capital investments. Pulaski is well on its way to growing into an economic force in the region and is launching a Small Business and Entrepreneurial Movement this year to further encourage business ventures to land in the area.
At the rate Pulaski is implementing changes, it will soon be considered with a new identity. Pulaski County is a great place to live, play, and work.