Aerial of Downtown Blacksburg, Virgnia

“Why Blacksburg, VA, is a Best Place to Live”

BLACKSBURG, VA — Melody Warnick, freelance writer, author and Blacksburg local, wrote why she thinks Blacksburg is a special place to live. Her editorial was published on Livability on January 19.

Touting the bustling, charming downtown, and top-knotch education and arts, Melody expressed why it’s no wonder Blacksburg made Livability’s Top 100 Best Places to Live list for 2017.

“You don’t have to leave behind the serene mountain views or the access to hiking, biking, and horse trails,” said Warnick, “to get yourself a ticket to catch a world-class musician like Yo-Yo Ma performing at the recently built Moss Arts Center on the Virginia Tech campus.”

Read the full article on Livability.

Melody Warnick is the author of This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of all worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Virginia Tech Ranked #3 Best College Campus

Blacksburg, VA – Niche, a company that helps people find schools and communities, ranked the Virginia Tech campus as the No. 3 best college campus in the U.S. The ranking was based on information from the U.S. Department of Education, which included statistics and student reviews of classrooms, labs, performance venues, housing, food, rec facilities, and more.

Virginia Tech has a beautiful campus and many amenities for students to live healthy and fulfilling lives. View some photos below.

See the complete Top 10 at Niche or Town & Country.

The NRV is also home to three other outstanding higher education institutes: Radford University, New River Community College, and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Advanced Manufacturing welder

NRV Receives Top Rankings in Virginia in the ‘Best of the Southern Auto Corridor’

NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA– Virginia’s New River Valley is mentioned as some of the best spots in Virginia by Southern Business & Development magazine’s Best of the Southern Auto Corridor list.

In four out of the ten categories, the NRV was mentioned 7 times. Businesses and assets mentioned include: Volvo, Federal Mogul, Corning, VTTI, and NRCC.

The Volvo Trucks assembly plant is located in Dublin, VA in Pulaski County. The plant is Volvo’s largest hub for manufacturing and employs approx. 2,000 people.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has a 2.2 mile Smart Road that can simulate weather like rain, snow, or fog, and is used to advance transportation and autonomous technology.

New River Community College has one of the best programs for automotive worker training. There is even a dedicated staff member at NRCC that works to support Volvo’s training needs.

In general, Virginia is an excellent place to locate a business in the automotive or advanced manufacturing industry. The law structure and central location to South, Northeast, and Midwest markets make it a very strategic location. Specifically, I-81 runs through the heart of the New River Valley and the region in close proximity to interstates 77 and 64 via I-81, making interstate access easy and convenient.

Falling Branch Corporate Park

Montgomery and Pulaski counties were also mentioned as some of the best places for automotive parts suppliers. There are sites in both counties that would make an excellent fit for businesses in the automotive or advanced manufacturing industries. In Montgomery County, the Falling Branch Corporate Park is an excellent option. The park has graded sites ranging from 3 to 16.7 acres and the county recently acquired an additional 124 acres to develop larger sites. Just off I-81 and highway 460, this park is ready for a new tenant.

NRV Commerce Park

Pulaski County also offers the New River Valley Commerce Park, this site is certified by McCallum Sweeney as an American Electric Power (AEP) Quality Site. The park has robust infrastructure and boasts sites up to 120 acres.

SheaDawn Park Rail

SheaDawn Park, a private development in Pulaski County, also boast excellent infrastructure and a rail spur. Twenty-two miles of the Crescent and Heartland rail corridors converge in Virginia’s New River Valley, which is easily accessible at ShaeDawn.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Virginia Tech Ranked #11 Best Tailgate Experience in the South

Date:  April 21, 2017

NEW RIVER VALLEY–  Hospitality—and Hokie football—isn’t simply a pastime in the New River Valley, it’s a way of life.  It comes as no surprise, then, that Southern Living ranked Virginia Tech’s tailgates as eleventh best in the South.

Blacksburg’s tailgating atmosphere embodies the New River Valley, a region defined by welcoming and inclusive small towns.  In fact, in 2016, Virginia Tech and Blacksburg were ranked #6 for having great town-gown relations by the Princeton Review in response to their annual survey which asked students whether they got along with their local community. 

At a Tech tailgate, meandering between parking lots and making new friends is the name of the game—and, as any Hokie fan will tell you, it’s this good-natured spirit of the sport that brings everyone together, from college Freshmen to local retirees.  In 2016, Bleacher Report ranked Lane Stadium and its atmosphere as the #20 College Football Stadium in America, and, that same year, USA Today called it a “hidden gem” with “one of the best team entrances in sports” when it ranked the Hokie experience as #10 in the nation.  While it may be true that Hokie fans bleed orange and maroon, their enthusiasm for creating a warm and friendly game-day experience is what sets Tech fans apart from the crowd.

To read more about how Virginia Tech stacked up against the competition, visit Southern Living’s article on The South’s Best Tailgates 2017.

AIER Ranks the New River Valley a 2017 Top College Destination

Date:  February 15, 2017

New River Valley, VA – The New River Valley is among the top college destinations in the country, according to the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER).  The Institute recently ranked the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the #17 college destination in the U.S. among other college town MSAs with populations less than 250,000.  The New River Valley’s Cost of Living (No. 5) and Economic Activity (No. 4) were two factors that contributed to its high ranking.

AIER’s annual College Destinations Index analyzed 269 MSAs with colleges and universities around the country and ranked them based on several factors related to social and cultural life, as well as post-graduation work opportunities.  According to AIER:

“The ‘college experience’ is about more than simply attending a top-notch university.  The city or town where the school is located also is important.  The people the students meet, the places they go, and the jobs they may hold are essential supplements to formal education.”

This “college experience” is what makes the New River Valley such a unique place for students to study, work, and play.  Home to four different colleges and universities—Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)New River Community CollegeRadford University, and Virginia Tech—the region mixes small town charm and unparalleled outdoor amenities with world-class research and work-study opportunities.

Collaboration and partnership with local industries are the hallmarks of New River Valley colleges and Universities.  Some of these partnerships include:

*  Radford University’s ARTIS Lab enables Information Technology students to work hand-in-hand with local business partners to solve real-life problems in IT, data management, and cybersecurity each semester.

*  New River Community College partners with local companies in both its Machine Technology program and its Instrumentation and Control Automation program to work with the materials and machines that are most in-demand for graduates of its programs.

*  Virginia Tech’s successful Cooperative Education Program enables undergraduate students to gain real-world, full-time, career-related work experience during college.  The College of Engineering’s program allows students to pursue co-ops at local, New River Valley employers like Luna Innovations, Wolverine Advanced Materials, Corning, Polymer Solutions, Aeroprobe, and among others.

*  VCOM’s Appalachian Outreach program pairs students with allied healthcare professionals to provide wellness screenings, free clinics, and other programs to provide both practical experiences for students and much needed medical care for underserviced communities.

Outside of the classroom, students can hike over fifty miles of the Appalachian Trail, bike over eighty miles of singletrack or greenways, boat at Claytor Lake, or canoe or kayak the second oldest river in the world—all within the New River Valley.

The region is also a hub for arts and cultural events.  Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center showcases talent like the Munich Symphony Orchestra or the Philip Glass Ensemble, and the Floyd Country Store upholds the history and evolution of Appalachian music at its weekly Friday Night Jamboree.  Numerous restaurants like 622 North, pictured above, provide intimate performance venues for local or regional musicians.

With ten towns and one city forming the backbone of the New River Valley, popular shops, restaurants, and coffee houses serve any number of regional students, faculty, and staff.  Nestled in the college downtowns of Blacksburg and Radford, two historic, independent theaters—The Lyricand the Radford Theater—offer movie buffs an ever-changing selection of independent movies, documentaries, special screenings, and film festivals throughout the year.

With resources like these, it’s easy to see why the New River Valley was ranked one of the top college destinations in the U.S.  To learn more, visit the AIER College Destinations Index 2017.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.


Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

2016 in the New River Valley, Ranked!

Date:  January 6, 2017

New River Valley Economic Development Alliance New River Valley, VA – 2016 was a banner year for the New River Valley in terms of regional and national recognition.  From Fox News to Southern Living to Area Development Magazine, both the region as a whole and the counties, city, towns, and universities within it were recognized for outstanding lifestyle, business, and educational opportunities.

Although this list is far from comprehensive, we hope that it gives you a good overview of how the New River Valley stacked up against the rest of the country (and world!) in 2016.

Safety First •  Blacksburg (#6) and Christiansburg (#11) were ranked by      Backgroundchecks.org as two of the top 25 Safest Cities in Virginia.

Happiness Counts

•  Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Floyd, and Pulaski all earned top    awards in Blue Ridge Country magazine’s Happiest Town in the Blue    Ridge survey.

•  Christiansburg was ranked #3 Happiest City in Virginia by

   OnlyInYourState.com.

•  WTKR rated Blacksburg the #7 Best City for Singles.

•  Southern Living listed Floyd among its Best Small Towns.

•  Forbes called Blacksburg a Top 25 Best Place to Retire.

•  Pulaski rang in at #10 on the Best Small Towns That Offer Peace and

   Quiet.

Leading Metro

•  AIER named the a Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA #19 Top    College Town.

•  In its Leading Locations survey, Area Development Magazine ranked the

   MSA as #30 overall and #12 among mid-sized metros.

•  The MSA ranked #4 overall and #2 among mid-sized metros in Area

   Development’s Prime Workforce rankings.

•  The Milken Institute recognized the MSA as #41 out of 201 small metro

   areas.

Tech-Savvy

•  Blacksburg was named one of the Best Tech Hubs in Virginia by Southern Business & Development Magazine.

•  Southern Business & Development Magazine also named Montgomery

   County as one of the Best Data Center Locations in Virginia.

•  NaCo ranked Montgomery County the #4 Top Digital County for counties

   with populations under 150,000.

 

 College Town Love

•  Garden & Gun ranked Blacksburg as the #1 Southern College Town.

•  Southern Living’s Facebook fans awarded Blacksburg the #1 College

   Town.

•  WalletHub gave Blacksburg the #27 ranking and Radford the

   #90 ranking out of 202 college towns.

Get Outside

•  Singletracks.com named Blacksburg the Mountain Bike Capital    of Virginia.

•  Canoe & Kayak Magazine named Pembroke one of America’s

   (Next Best) Paddling Towns.

•  Fox News called Floyd Fest the #7 Hottest Music Festival in the U.S.

•  LifeOutside Magazine recognized both Pulaski and Floyd as top

   Weekend Getaways in Southwest Virginia.

•  Blueridge Outdoors magazine listed the Flat Peter/Dixon Branch Loop in

   Giles as a Top 10 Fall Foliage Favorite.

Top Tier Colleges & Universities

•  Princeton Review ranked Virginia Tech as having the #1 Best Quality of    Life and the #7 Happiest Students, among others.

•  Washington Monthly Magazine dubbed Radford University a Best Bang

   for Your Buck school.

•  New River Community College was named one of Virginia’s Best

   Community Colleges for Workforce Training by Southern Business &

   Development Magazine.

•  Giles County was awarded the NaCo 2016 Achievement Award for its

   Access to Community College Education program.

•  Virginia Tech ranked #9 in Research Expenditures by the National

   Science Foundation.

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the latest rankings for the New River Valley, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram!

About Us:

Virginia’s New River Valley is a vibrant community that’s home to two state universities, Virginia Tech and Radford University, and a diverse industry base ranging from large international corporations to small technology startups. The region is designated the Blacksburg-Christiansburg Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area and encompasses the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski and the city of Radford.

The New River Valley Economic Development Alliance is a public/private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to market the New River Valley, to foster job creation, facilitate new investment and to improve the quality of life in the region.

NRV Towns Voted Happiest in Blue Ridge

Date:  October 28, 2016

New River Valley, VA – This summer, five towns (technically four towns and one city) were voted to top spots in the Happiest Mountain Towns reader poll by Blue Ridge Country magazine.  Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Floyd, and Pulaski all received top honors in the magazine’s rankings which used quantitative data like unemployment rates and commute times as a baseline, but also accounted for readers’ passions for their hometowns.

The initial 96 towns were whittled down to 61 for readers to choose from, and the coverage area included the mountain regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina.  Blue Ridge Country vetted the 61 initial choices by setting “minimum happiness-base standards” (i.e. a commute of <30 minutes, a below-average cost-of-living, unemployment rate below 10%, etc.), but then left the poll open for readers all over the nation to vote for their favorites.

In the 10,000-49,999 category, three New River Valley towns cracked the top twenty: Blacksburg (#6)Christiansburg (#17), and Radford (#18).  Blacksburg and Christiansburg, both located in Montgomery County, are strongly affiliated with Virginia Tech and the many companies that have spun-off from or located near the research university.  Radford, of course, is closely tied to Radford University and its award-winning business, nursing, education, and liberal arts programs.

All three places boast a low cost-of-living, easy accessibility to the outdoors (the 7-mile Huckleberry Trail connects Blacksburg and Christiansburg and the New River snakes its way along the edge of Radford’s downtown and campus corridor), and a strong arts community.

Floyd (#3) and Pulaski (#26) clinched a top spots in the <10,000 category.  Heralded by Southern Living as one of the South’s Best Small Towns, the top tier ranking is no surprise.  What Floyd lacks in numbers, it makes up for with style, small town charm, and impactful events.  Floyd’s innovative business climate offers start-ups, entrepreneurial ventures, and artisanal producers a welcoming place to do business.

Pulaski, a former furniture and textile manufacturing town, has undergone a massive revitalization initiative including the renovation of the Jackson Park Inn, clean-up of Peak Creek, and improvements to Calfee Park, the ninth oldest professional Minor League Baseball Park in use in America.  While many diverse manufacturing jobs still exist in Pulaski, other home-grown business are sprouting up and the town is working to attract a mix of industries.

Both towns offer unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities like paddleboarding the Little River, biking the New River Trail State Park, or hiking the region’s trails.  They also both promote large community farmers markets and music-oriented events like the Floyd County Store Friday Night Jamboree.

To learn more about the poll, its methodology, and to see how the New River Valley stacks up, visit Blue Ridge Country.

NRV a top 30 “Leading Location” for new and expanding businesses

Date:  June 15, 2016

New River Valley, VA – The New River Valley is one of the hottest places in America for new and expanding business, according to Area Development. The magazine recently released its ranking of the top 100 Leading Locations in the U.S. for 2016.

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan statistical area (MSA), encompassing the entire New River Valley, ranked No. 30 overall and No. 12 among mid-sized metros with populations between 160,000 to 600,000. The New River Valley was one of only two metros in Virginia designated a Leading Location. Richmond, VA made the list at No. 68 overall.

In its sixth year, the Leading Locations for 2016 rankings analyzed economic and workforce data for 394 MSAs to determine recent and long-term economic vitality as well as each metros capacity to support business growth. The four primary indicators used to compile the rankings included Prime Workforce, Economic Strength, Year-Over-Year Growth, and Five Year Growth.

Prime Workforce helped propel the New River Valley to its high overall ranking. The region ranked No. 4 overall; No. 2 among mid-sized metros. A high ranking in Prime Workforce was attributed to an area’s strong and growing nucleus of well-educated and qualified 18- to 44-year-olds in the workforce.

The availability of a qualified workforce was one of the leading indicators included in the Leading Locations ranking. Area Development indicated that when choosing a place to locate or expand, executives generally prefer to pick a place with a solid pipeline of potential employees that will allow the company to hit the ground running and support future growth.

College communities were well represented among the Top 10 Prime Workforce locations. Area Development found this to be “no surprise” because many graduates choose to join the workforce after graduation and college towns tend to be hotbeds of innovation.

Virginia’s New River Valley is no exception to this finding. The region benefits from not one, but two universities – Virginia Tech and Radford University – and an exceptional community college – New River Community College. With approximately 45,000 students, these institutions provide a steady pipeline of talent for companies in the New River Valley to draw from. Virginia Tech, a top 40 research university, is also a major catalyst for the region’s growing technology sector.

Blacksburg, Christiansburg among safest places in Virginia

Date:  May 6, 2016

New River Valley Economic Development Alliance

New River Valley, VA – Two New River Valley towns are among the safest places in Virginia, according to BackgroundChecks.org. The public safety focused organization recently ranked the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg on its 2016 list of the 25 Safest Cities in Virginia. BackgroundChecks.org had this to say about Blacksburg and Christiansburg:

#6 Blacksburg “Located in Montgomery County, Blacksburg is a town that has a current population of 42,600 residents. Best known as the home of Virginia Tech, the town was named by Business Week as one of the best places in the U.S. to raise kids and by Southern Living as the Best College Town in the South. The violent crime rate here is 90.6, and residents of Blacksburg have a 1.1% chance of being involved in a property crime.”

#11 Christiansburg “A town in Montgomery County, Christiansburg is home to 21,000 residents. Also the county seat, the community was a stagecoach stop in the 1850’s and was the residence of such legends as Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and Booker T. Washington. The violent crime rate here is 141.1, and the chance of being affected by property crime in Christiansburg is 3.1%.”

BackgroundChecks.org is a public safety focused organization committed to increasing public safety, community involvement, transparent government and education. To compile the list of the 25 Safest Cities in Virginia, BackgroundChecks.org used FBI violent crime stats and its own proprietary research data.

To view the full list of the Top 25 Safest Cities in Virginia, visit http://backgroundchecks.org/25-safest-cities-in-virginia-2016.html 

About Us:

Virginia’s New River Valley is a vibrant community that’s home to two state universities, Virginia Tech and Radford University, and a diverse industry base ranging from large international corporations to small technology startups. The region is designated the Blacksburg-Christiansburg Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area and encompasses the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski and the city of Radford.

The New River Valley Economic Development Alliance is a public/private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to market the New River Valley, to foster job creation, facilitate new investment and to improve the quality of life in the region.

Floyd named a best small town by USA Today and Southern Living

Date:  April 13, 2016

New River Valley, VA – Floyd continues to rack up third party recognitions as one of the best towns in the South. Over the past year, it has been featured on lists by USA Today and Southern Living.

In February, Southern Living Magazine named Floyd as one of the South’s Best Small Towns for 2016. Published since 1966, Southern Living highlights the beauty and culture of the growing South and has a reach of more than 23 million people each month. Floyd was among 20 small towns to be featured on its list.

Southern Living had this to say about Floyd:

“You’ve got the mountains rising from all sides of town, the Blue Ridge Parkway running north and south, and all of the old time, bluegrass music you could ask for. A stop on The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, Floyd takes its farm-centric roots and adds a touch of artistic whimsy. Show up for the Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store to see the town at its finest.”

In 2015, Floyd was ranked the No. 9 Best Southern Small Town in the nation by the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. The top 20 nominees were picked by a panel of experts with the top ten being chosen by popular vote of USA Today 10 Best readers. USA Today is a national news and information media company with eight million readers daily.

USA Today had this to say about Floyd:

“A popular stop along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd is an artist’s enclave where the Friday Nite Jamboree is just one of the regular toe-tapping events that visitors enjoy. Galleries and studios abound and regular events allow buyers (and art-loving lookie-loos) to enjoy multiple venues on one visit with ease. Floyd’s lovely Mabry Mill, featuring a working blacksmith, wheelwright, grist mill and whiskey still, keeps history alive and interactive. Not to mention fun.”

To view the full lists, visit:

Southern Living

USA Today