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Meeting held on permit
Congressmen, corps discuss Commonwealth Crossing

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The area’s congressmen met with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Commonwealth Crossing Business Park permit stalemate last week.

Mark Heath, president/CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp., said no local officials were involved in the meeting and there was no resolution to the permit issue.

Attending were Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Reps. Morgan Griffith and Robert Hurt, along with representatives of the Corps of Engineers at “a higher level than we have been talking to,” Heath said.

“We’re hopeful it (the meeting) will help it along,” he added of the stalemate.

The corps has not issued a permit needed to begin grading at a 200-acre pad in the business park because it considers the development speculative since no business or industry has committed to locating at the park, officials have said.

However, Heath said last week, by its very nature, economic development is speculative. For example, he cited grading projects in the Patriot Center that were done without an industry commitment for the site, shell buildings that were constructed without a buyer or tenant and other ventures.

Contacted last week, an aide in Kaine’s office said the senator expressed support for the “job-creating project” at Commonwealth Crossing at the meeting.

“Martinsville and Henry County have worked in good faith to provide the corps with information they need at significant local expense,” the aide said. “As a former mayor (of Richmond), Sen. Kaine understands the economic impact (the project) can mean for Southside, and he will continue to work with the congressional delegation to make a case for the project at the federal level.”


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