New River Valley businesses brainstorm ways to work together at NRV Livability In Action Exchange

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va (WDBJ7) The New River Valley is continuing to work to grow both businesses and residence.

Now people who live and work there are being called on to help.

Thursday was the third annual NRV Livability in Action Regional Exchange.

It featured nearly 150 elected officials, business owners, and non-profits all working together.

It stems from the NRV Livability Initiative that wrapped up three years ago.

“That involved over 6,000 people in the New River Valley bringing ideas to the table,” Kevin Byrd of the New River Valley Regional Commission said.

“So here we are three years after that was finished and we're seeing projects come to fruition, and these are long-term projects that will have meaningful impact in communities,” Byrd said.

In total, a dozen different projects were discussed Thursday in Christiansburg.

They ranged from getting outside more, to renewing the New River, and even opioid and Heroin Addiction in the New River Valley.

But the big talks were the demographics of the area.

“We've got an aging population. We are marketing the NRV as a great place to retire, and no doubt it is, but we need the services and the infrastructure to support that,” Jessica Wirgau of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley said.

But the talks ran the gamut, with discussions and projects about childcare availability within the New River Valley.

“Not just being able to provide care for kids during the day while we're all at work, but all of the other services that are here for families, whether they're feeding programs, health programs, there's a lot of need for that in the region,” Wirgau said.

After each project was presented to the group and some brief questions, all the people began to network to see how far each project and idea can go.

“As we're talking about projects, we're helping to network the people who are in leadership roles as well as the people who are funding these, so we make sure we get funds to the projects that are needed and it helps build capacity in communities to make an impact,” Byrd said.

The fourth annual meeting is already scheduled for next year.