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Shenandoah County to combine tourism, economic development offices

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County officials are combining the offices of tourism and economic development under one name – and one person – following the departure of the Director of Community Development.

Jenna French, the county’s director of tourism and marketing, will become the Director of Tourism and Business Development today. Bradley Polk, who joined the county in April 2016, resigned his position on Aug. 1 to take a job in Loudoun County.

French, 37, joined the tourism office in 2013. She will continue to oversee tourism initiatives like the Route 11 Yard Crawl and the Shenandoah Spirits Trail.

Her new responsibilities include working with members of the manufacturing and agriculture industries, as well as small businesses. Her annual salary will be about $67,000.

French had already been working with business owners, including helping them prepare for the launch of the RevUp Marketing program in September, before the department consolidation, she said.

“There’s been a sort of grey area on small businesses and agriculture,” French said in a phone interview on Aug. 25. “Brad and I would look at each other and think, ‘Well, that doesn’t fall under my job, and it doesn’t fall under your job.’

“So I started taking some of that work because I saw the value in them and it’s a passion of mine to work with small businesses,” she said.

Polk’s last day on the job was Aug. 25.

As part of the consolidation, the county will fold the Community Development director position and hire a Director of Planning and Zoning to replace Polk, according to Assistant County Administrator Evan Vass.

That official will oversee the office’s remaining departments of planning, zoning and subdivision, land conservation, and erosion control and stormwater management.

The Department of Building Inspections and Code Enforcement, also currently under Community Development, will become its own department that answers to County Administrator Mary Beth Price, Vass said.

The restructuring will give economic development, which currently falls under the Office of Community Development’s jurisdiction, a greater emphasis on county priorities, Vass said.

The move also highlights how tourism and economic development complement each other, especially in areas like agritourism, he said.

“We believe consolidating them under one office will prove to be a good enterprise,” he said. “No one can deny that wineries are a vibrant form of economic development.”




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