Bedford City and County invite you to explore their communities alive with activity and opportunity. There is a happy mix of industry, culture, commerce, and agriculture. Bedford County is the fastest growing county outside the state's "urban crescent" from Northern Virginia to Richmond to Tidewater. The area has a stable political atmosphere, favorable tax rates, and excellent schools.
A strong, diversified economy provides a business climate conducive to prosperity and expansion. People here have a strong work ethic made pleasurable by the opportunities for relaxation and recreation which abound nearby.
The population figures state that the City of Bedford is 6,400 and the County is 64,000.
Bedford County covers an area of 764 square miles in the west-central part of Virginia. The county is bounded on the northeast by the James River; on the east by Lynchburg and Campbell County; on the south by the 23,400 acre Smith Mountain Lake; and on the west by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Elevations range from about 800 feet above sea level in the southern half of the county to 4,200 feet on Flat Top Mountain, one of the twin Peaks of Otter, in the far northwestern area. Bedford County is situated in the highest part of the Piedmont Plateau. The City of Bedford is in the geographic center of the county.
The Bedford area enjoys a diversified economy comprised of manufacturing, wholesale, retail, services, tourism, and agriculture. The largest growth over the past five years has occurred in the manufacturing services, and wholesale/retail sectors. Manufacturers include closed cell rubber, lithographed labels, furniture, corrugating materials, micro-electronics, paper products, abrasives, electric harnesses, and a variety of food processors.
The City of Bedford is the retail and commercial hub of the area and has a market area of over 50,000. Taxable retail sales for the city in 1999 totaled $121,795,752.
A mild mid-Atlantic climate provides plentiful precipitation, moderate temperatures, and well-defined seasons. There is an average annual temperature of 57 degrees, average annual rainfall is 45 inches, average annual snowfall is 17 inches and the average relative humidity is 62 percent.
Electricity: The City of Bedford generates power at a municipal power plant on the James River and purchases power from Appalachian Power Company. It distributes power within the city limits, to some adjacent areas, and to certain portions of north Bedford County. Appalachian Power Company, a subsidiary of American Electric Power Company, supplies power to most of the county. The Southside Electric Cooperative supplies some areas near Smith Mountain Lake.
Natural & LP Gas: Commonwealth Gas Services serves customers near Forest in Bedford County. LP gas is available from several suppliers on a competitive contract basis.
Water: City water is obtained from a large reservoir with a storage capacity of 156 million gallons and wells which have design capacity of 600,000 gallons per day. The filtration plant has a design capacity of 3 million gallons per day. Water is supplied to residents, business, and industry in the county by the Bedford County Public Service Authority, private systems, subdivision systems, and individual wells. A one million gallon capacity storage tank in the Forest area went on line in June 1991.
Sewer: The City of Bedford has a 1.5 million gallon per day capacity per day advanced wastewater treatment plant which currently treats 0.9 million gallons per day. There are 2,000 residential and industrial users, and the system serves most of the city and limited parts of the county. Bedford County offers public sewage collection service to the Forest area with treatment furnished by the City of Lynchburg.
Solid Waste: The city of Bedford provides weekly curbside collection of garbage and recyclables. Bedford County has a rural green box system with 80 yard capacity boxes throughout the county. Private haulers service commercial, industrial and residential users. Both the city and county own and operate landfills which accept residential commercial and non-hazardous waste. Both localities replaced their landfills in 1993 with new state of the art ones.
Highways: Three interregional highways pass through or are easily accessible from the Bedford area: U.S. 460 connecting with I-81 near Roanoke; U.S. 29 accessible in Lynchburg; U.S. 501 linking Shenandoah Valley with central North Carolina.
Railroads: The east-west line of the Norfolk Southern connects the agricultural Midwest, the industrial Great Lakes, and the Allegheny coal fields with the Atlantic Coast. AMTRAK passenger service is available in Lynchburg.
Airports: The Lynchburg and Roanoke Regional Airports provide air service to the Bedford area. In Lynchburg, commercial air service is provided by Allegiant Air, Delta (ASA and Comair), NorthWest Airlink, US Air Express and United Express with 20 daily departures to four major hub airports. In Roanoke, US Air, Comair and United Express provide service with 94 arrivals and departures.
Limousine service and rental cars are available at both airports.
The Bedford area is located approximately 220 miles from the ports of Hampton Roads, Virginia, which include one of the finest natural harbors in the world and three inland river ports. Bedford is also 325 miles from the port of Baltimore, Maryland, and 495 miles from the port of New York.
Twenty-three trucking lines and twenty-five major trucking terminals located in Lynchburg and Roanoke serve the Bedford area.
The Bedford Public Library system, founded in 1900, operates a new Central Library in the City of Bedford, four libraries in Bedford County, and a bookmobile with a combined collection of over 100,000 items. Annual circulation is approaching 250,000. The library system also offers a full range of information technology including public Internet access. Planning is now underway for a major library development and construction program in the county.
The Sedalia Center near Big Island is a private, regional, non-profit educational center offering programs in the arts, ethnic cultures, environmental awareness, health and inner development.
The Bedford City/County Museum features exhibits on the history of Bedford from its beginnings through the mid-20th century.
The Little Town Players, a community theater organization, produces four plays a year and sponsors a summer children's theater program. LTP is the recipient of the prestigious President's Action Award for Volunteerism.
Other organizations include the Bedford Community Orchestra, Smith Mountain Lake Brass and the Smith Mountain Lake Harmeneers, a Barbershop group.
The area is home to a number of churches, and most major denominations are represented. Fraternal and service clubs are also well represented.
A Virginia Tourism Accredited Community, the Bedford area has an active tourism program which is positively affecting the economic health of the area. During 1995, travelers to the Bedford area spent over $40 million at local attractions, accommodations, and businesses. Tourism accounts for 500 jobs with a payroll of over $7 million annually.
Radio: City of Bedford, WBLT-AM; WLQE-The Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, Lynchburg and Roanoke stations.
Television: Lynchburg and Roanoke television stations provide programming to the area and cover all major networks including a public television affiliate. Cable service is available in the city and in many areas of the county. Satellite service is also available.
Finance The Bedford area is served by six banking corporations. Automated teller machines are conveniently located throughout the city and county. Financial institutions: Bedford Federal Savings Bank; Wachovia; First Citizens Bank; First Community Bank of Forest; First National Exchange Bank; First Union Bank.
Industrial Development Authorities in the city and county are authorized to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds.
An excellent public school system operated by the county provides education to area school children grades K-12. Special programs are academically gifted and handicapped students are available.
The Bedford Science and Technology Center offers an outstanding vocational education program to area students including drafting technology, electricity, electronics, business data processing, and automotive technology. The center works in cooperation with local business and industry as well as Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg to develop and enhance curriculum.
DAY CARE FACILITIES
After-school day care is also provided to Bedford area families through the YMCA with on-school sites. Also, Longwood Avenue Childcare in Bedford offers an after-school program for grades K through 4. Bedford Christian Church, Bedford Baptist and Main Street United Methodist also operate day care facilities.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg offers two year programs in the arts and sciences as well as instruction in a variety of vocational-technical fields. CVCC is the only institution in the area to offer the ISO 9000 Certification Program and the Total Quality Management Program.
Several colleges are located nearby including Lynchburg College, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, Liberty University, Sweet Briar College, Salem College, Roanoke College, Radford University, Ferrum College, and Hollins University. The University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia Military Institute, Washington and Lee University, and Virginia Tech at Blacksburg are each within two hours drive.