The Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor (YVHC) Partnership, a regional tourism and economic development collaboration between Caldwell, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, elected new officers at their annual meeting held in Elkin on June 27, 2012.

Leslie Schlender, economic development director for the Town of Elkin, has been named chair. Schlender replaced former Chair Eddie Barnes, Wilkes County planning director, who served as chair since the formation of the organization in 2005. Barnes will stay on the board as past chair.

“Eddie has seen this organization through from the beginning, and the entire former executive committee has done an incredible job of sticking with a regional initiative to get it to where it is today,” explains Schlender. “They did all of the hard work, and I can only hope to take that wonderful foundation and build upon it.”

Other principal officers include David Moxley, vice chair, commissioner for Yadkin County; Sam Hinnant, Secretary, economic development officer for North Wilkesboro; and Linda Cheek, treasurer, executive director for Wilkes Chamber of Commerce.   Helen Ruth Almond, president of Antaeus Consulting, will continue as project manager.

The YVHC Partnership was established to develop place-based economic strategies for northwest North Carolina and to increase visitor spending in the four-county target area.  Specifically, the Partnership is focused on increasing recreational infrastructure through the development of a multiuse trail system along the Yadkin River and tourism marketing infrastructure through a comprehensive and integrated wayfinding program.

In January, new gateway signs were installed in Surry and Wilkes counties. Vehicular signage is part of the wayfinding program being developed by MERJE Design and the YVHC Partnership. Other components of this program include development of a regional identity, Web site, kiosks, mobile Web site, municipal banners, and online and print advertisements.

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