BEDFORD — A familiar face will join Bedford Town Council as its newest member following a unanimous appointment to fill the seat recently vacated by longtime member Bob Wandrei.
C.G. Stanley, Jr., who served on the council for 14 years, was chosen out of three candidates interviewed Tuesday. Bruce Hartwick and Danny Lee Kirby also applied for the seat and interviewed with council, but following a closed session Stanley was tapped to fill the role.
The lifelong Bedford resident served on council when the town was a city. Stanley was part of the council when reversion was discussed for several years and came to fruition in July 2013. He stepped down from the council the following year.
In 2018 he retired as a field supervisor for the Roanoke District of Appalachian Power Company after 34 years. During his tenure at the company, he supervised 28 employees in Lynchburg, Roanoke, Rocky Mount, Fieldale and Stuart, according to his application letter.
He said he stepped away from the council because he needed a break during a busy time with demands from his job and he enjoyed serving on the council.
“It wasn’t anything I was tired of,” Stanley said. “I would certainly appreciate the opportunity to do it again.”
Wandrei, who served on council 24 years, resigned in late 2019 and said his hearing was deteriorating. He was the city’s last mayor and first mayor for the town after the reversion.
All three candidates said during their interviews they would run for the seat in a special election in November. Each was asked a range of questions, including what they feel are the town’s most pressing needs, if they are familiar with the town’s budget and comprehensive plan for growth and how they will respond to the impending loss of $750,000 in annual revenue from the reversion agreement.
Stanley said the last thing he would want to see happen with the revenue loss is to cut departments and town employees and he would look for alternative solutions. “It would be nice to see a bustling Bedford with businesses that are stable” and for more industry to come into the town, he said.
Each candidate spoke of the need for the town to be proactive in attracting business growth. Stanley, a Liberty High School graduate who worked for the city’s electric department for several years in the 1970s, spoke to the importance of town government working to maintain the local economy and areas such as sidewalks and streets.
Stanley described himself as a team player. “If selected you will not be disappointed,” he told council.
Hartwick ran for a seat on council in 2016 and 2018 and received 833 votes and 966 votes, respectively. Kirby, husband of Bedford County School Board member Susan Kirby, currently is employed at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford as a grounds maintenance associate and previously worked 28 years for the city and town before retiring.
Also during the meeting, council voted to reject two requests for proposal bids from two companies for the development of construction documents related to the first phase of the proposed Crenshaw Street improvements, a $1.9 million plan to connect the National D-Day Memorial and the Bedford Welcome Center to downtown Bedford.
The town received responses from Peace of Mind Property Services in Bedford for $10,000 and Hurt & Proffitt, of Lynchburg, for $95,000 but council decided to hold off for now and may pursue the RFP process at a later time, according to Town Manager Bart Warner. He said the town is looking to reevaluate the scope of the work and determine if it will be a capital improvement project or an effort that can be funded through the town’s operational budget.
The town has reviewed data that shows the downtown area of Bedford is not capturing traffic from the memorial, a well- established attraction since 2001, and the Welcome Center off U.S. 460 as well as possible, according to Warner. He said the project, a long-term community goal, in addition to drawing more visitors to downtown also could also benefit town residents and the neighborhoods adjoining Crenshaw Street, a connector between the memorial and downtown.
“Just how we get there is the question,” he said.