This association was formed in 1998 after the Virginia Department of Transportation barricaded the old steel-truss bridge that connected the town to U.S. 220 (now called Botetourt Road). The people resisted the limit thatclosing placed on Eagle Rock’s access to the rest of Botetourt County. Thisnewly organized Eagle Rock Improvement Association joined other residents whose efforts to get the bridge repaired had failed. Forty-two people attended the first meeting in March 1998 and so began The Eagle Rock Improvement Association.
As a result of the community effort through the Eagle Rock Improvement Association, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and VDOT worked out a plan to share the cost of erecting a new bridge. After that success, the association members concentrated on a cleanup and beautification drive, hoping the new bridge would encourage people to stop in town. That first year, all the overgrowth at the end of the bridge where now stands the “Welcome to Eagle Rock” sign and the old lime kilns was all cleaned away and in the spring, shrubbery and flowers were planted. A large flower bed was built down on Railroad Avenue to the left of where the old post office use to be. As the Christmas season approached, folks got together and the group made and hung Christmas wreaths on 18 utility poles, using wrought-iron hangers made by a local welder. The same hangers hold the beautiful dragon wing begonias that you see each spring and summer displayed on the poles.
As the years have gone by, more wrought-iron hangers have been added to hang the dragon wing begonias. Christmas wreaths are not hung anymore due largely to the fact that now the association only consists of a few members who are trying to keep it going and they do not have the manpower to put up and remove the Christmas wreaths.
Without the yearly assistance from The Eagle Rock Ruritan Club who take on the task of feeding and watering regularly the begonias and Dave Stull watering/feeding the other areas, the Association would not be able to continue these projects. The flowers add that special little touch to our town that we all look forward to seeing/enjoying each spring up through fall season.
The association has decreased in membership over the years due to some folks moving from the area and an overall lack of interest in helping out with the projects. When the association was more active in past years, the group worked to have activities for the youth, tutoring programs, a newsletter, were instrumental in getting the much needed renovations to the Eagle Rock Community Center, raised money to purchase the “Welcome to Eagle Rock” sign and money for the playground that is located in town for the children to enjoy.
The remaining few association members take great pride in doing the flowers and baskets to beautify our little part of the county. We hope all who pass through our town enjoys them as well.
Bonnie S. Britt
Member of The Eagle Rock Improvement Association