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Miller launches petition to appeal to Corps
Hopes to get permit for Commonwealth Crossing

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fourteenth District House of Delegates candidate Gary Miller has launched an online petition urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider its denial of a permit needed to develop the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.

The business park would be developed off U.S. 220 south of Ridgeway near the North Carolina line. Local and state officials already have put $7.7 million toward the project, including a $1.7 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, Miller said.

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 company has committed to locating there, officials have said.

Reiterating a point made by local officials, Miller said economic development is speculative by nature. If Commonwealth Crossing is not granted the permit, the area’s ability to recruit industries and jobs will be hampered, he said.

“Taxpayers have spent nearly $8 million so far and we need this project to recruit more jobs to Southside, especially Martinsville-Henry County,” he said. “This should be the top priority of a delegate.”

Miller, a cardiologist who also is Danville’s vice mayor, noted that Martinsville has the state’s highest unemployment and Henry County’s jobless rate also is high. In February, the city’s rate was 15.4 percent and the county’s rate was 9.7 percent, according to Virginia Employment Commission figures.

“Folks in the area have explored every avenue to try to change the mind of the corps,” Miller said. He added that the online petition is “a chance for the people of Southside and Virginia to show their clout and demand that the corps reverse their decision, so we can get back to work.”

Martinsville-Henry County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeff Adkins indicated his support for Miller’s effort.

Henry County-Martinsville has “suffered enough economically,” said Adkins. “The project has stalled and Dr. Miller is working to find a solution to help move this project forward.”

The petition can be accessed by going online to www.MillerforDelegate

.com and clicking on the yellow construction hard hat.

Miller eventually will deliver the petition to the Army corps, according to his campaign manager, Don Draper.

Miller, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Del. Danny Marshall for the 14th District House seat in the Nov. 5 election. Marshall is running for a seventh two-year term.


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