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Kendall cites paid rescue as biggest achievement
Iriswood District race, Henry County Board of Supervisors

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When incumbent Iriswood District Supervisor Milton Kendall lists some of his achievements in his first term on the Henry County Board of Supervisors, he starts with the county’s emergency services career (paid) staff program.

The idea had been discussed for years, but it often met with resistance for a variety of reasons, including funding.

But Kendall — a volunteer with two emergency service agencies — worked with his fellow members of the Henry County Board of Supervisors, a citizen’s group, volunteers and others to implement the county’s first career EMS staff program.

“It was a long time coming,” Kendall said of the program that backs up local volunteer squads and ensures residents will have access to care and service in emergencies.

“I just want us as supervisors to continue to promote these paid positions as we can afford them,” said Kendall, who is seeking his second four-year term on the board of supervisors in the Nov. 5 election.

“If we could even connect the bypass up to the Patriot Centre” that would be ideal, and it would serve as another building block in the overall plan to grow the economy, he added.

Other pieces — such as the Patriot Centre industrial park — “are really paying off. I don’t know if people realize the number of jobs” in the Patriot Centre or the companies that have located there, Kendall said. “There’s a lot going on, and a lot of the companies are already up and running.”

The county’s public school division, the New College Institute and Patrick Henry Community College all “are doing a great job working together and partnering with industries” to determine training programs needed in the workforce, Kendall said.

“The new programs that NCI is offering I think will be very beneficial to our workforce. We are really fortunate to have the colleges” and their presidents, William Wampler at NCI and Angeline Godwin at PHCC, he said. “Both of them are assets to us, and both are working to help this area.”

Kendall said he also supports development of the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, and he understands the need to “keep pushing to get grading work there started.”

The CCBC “will be our chance to get big industry back in the community. There will be large pad sites to accommodate big industries, and we’ve already got the money waiting to pay for the grading there and possibly even build a water tower,” Kendall said. “We’ve also got the water and sewer lines ran.”

Grading has been stalled due to lack of a federal permit.

“We are hoping that permit will come soon. If we’re ever going to bring a big industry back to the area, this is our opportunity. We don’t want to miss the chance,” Kendall said. “Larger industries won’t come if we don’t have a place” ready for them.

The county also is working with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) to attract smaller business and retail projects.

“The EDC has always had a small business initiative, and as the economy improves some, there seems to be more movement in that” sector, more contact and more “new businesses coming into Henry County,” Kendall said. “I also like the idea of pursuing retail,” he said. While jobs at retailers may not be the highest paying, they do represent jobs.

The more businesses that are added to a community, the more people from other areas are attracted to shop locally, he said.

“The more opportunities you have for retail and small businesses, the more people you’ll have in the county. That means jobs are being created and money is being (put) back into our economy,” Kendall said. “A lot of people want to see industry back here first, but I think retail and small business development are both good ideas, and I am glad the EDC is pursuing” them.

Other successes during his tenure are announcements of new businesses such as ICF, expansions at others and the sale of the shell building to Commonwealth Laminating, which will add more than 60 new jobs in the next few years, Kendall said.

“We also voted to build a new shell building, and that will give the county more opportunities to attract business,” he said.

Kendall said he also hopes to see more job growth.

“I see this as a very competitive market. There’s Pittsylvania County, Franklin County and Halifax, just to name a few. And everybody wants jobs because we’ve all been hit so hard with manufacturing losses,” he said. “I think our EDC (officials) are trying as hard as they can. I think they’ve got a tough market out there right now. It’s tough all over the country.”


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