County’s economic indicators improving
A number of key economic indicators are pointing in the right direction for Henrico County, and county officials are in a cautiously optimistic mood.
Among the most promising numbers: Henrico’s sales tax revenues were up 7.3 percent in April as compared to the same month last year.
“With this [recent] economic difficulty, consumers kind of batten down the hatches, and then at some point they decide enough is enough,” Henrico Finance Director John Vithoulkas said. “Residents got very cautious and now are starting to breathe and live their lives again.”
Each month since last fall, Henrico’s sales tax receipts have been 5 to 10 percent higher than during the same month one year earlier, Vithoulkas said. Henrico also experienced its highest December sales tax revenue in its history last year – an indication “that Henrico is becoming even more attractive to the regional resident,” Vithoulkas said.
Confirmation of that point is evident in the county’s per-capita sales during 2010, which were more than $15,369. Henrico, the sixth-largest locality in Virginia, also ranked second in the state in total sales last year, trailing only Fairfax County, the largest locality.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign to Vithoulkas and other county officials is the influx of new jobs to the county. Between last October and this February, 1,734 new jobs were announced or filled within the 21-locality Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA); 1,325 of them were in Henrico County.
“Seeing this type of turnaround on jobs, both in number and in quality, is extremely positive,” Vithoulkas said.
Other positive signs for the county:
• new vehicle sales were up 8.2 percent during Fiscal Year 2010-11, through January, and used vehicle sales were up 3.6 percent;
• commercial real estate vacancy rates improved in six of seven major commercial corridors from 2009 to 2010, with the seventh (Parham East) only slipping slightly, from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent.
Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.
YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.
The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.
Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.
The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.
As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.
The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.
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