Local businesses are “the heartbeat of Caroline County,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Floyd Thomas said at the county’s annual business appreciation reception last week.
Representatives from county government and businesses gathered in Meadow Hall at Meadow Event Park May 15 for the reception hosted by the Board of Supervisors, Economic Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce, and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
Philip Atkins, chairman of the EDA, said 370 jobs were added in the county in 2013, and businesses generated $600,000 in additional tax revenue.
“I heard the Board of Supervisors shouting hallelujah,” Atkins said.
“When we talk about tourism, sales and meals taxes revenues are on the rise, and we have to report that the State Fair had its best attendance ever in 2013,” he added.
Mary Pitts, president of the Chamber, commented, “It’s really nice to get together and share ideas and see what’s going on in the county.”
She invited local businesses to keep in touch with the Chamber.
“We want to promote your business. We want to put your business out there and let everyone know what you’re doing,” Pitts said.
Thomas said, “You guys have weathered (the economic) storm. If you are still here in business over the last four years, you are doing a wonderful job.”
Caroline County “could not do anything we do without you. We need you. We want to support you,” Thomas added.
“It’s always been a great place to live. It’s only getting better. We’re going to keep working hard. We’re going to keep making it better,” he said.
Leeanne Meadows Ladin, the Secretariat tourism manager at Meadow Event Park, was the featured speaker that evening.
She discussed efforts to establish a tourism program related to thoroughbred racing’s local roots.
“We have a very proud history of horses in Virginia over the last 400 years, and so we are doing our best to showcase that,” Ladin said.
Ladin said work is underway to secure two historical designations for Meadow Event Park—one from the Virginia Landmark Registry and another from the National Register of Historic Places.
She anticipates that process concluding by the end of the year.
“That will further put the Meadow on the map. It will be good for tourism. It will be good for our PR, and again, it gives honor to the legacy of this wonderful, wonderful farm,” she said.
The Meadow is the birthplace of Secretariat, one of only 11 Triple Crown winners since 1919. Secretariat set racing records in 1973 that have yet to be beaten.