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Business park funds backed
Tobacco commission panel endorses $6.5M grant
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
A committee of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission on Monday unanimously endorsed a $6.5 million prospects grant request for Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.
If approved by the full tobacco commission at its Jan. 7 meeting, the grant will be used to prepare two sites for future building construction at the Commonwealth Crossing Business Center, according to Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville, who chaired the Special Projects Committee meeting.
One of the proposed buildings would be 100,000 square feet and the other would be 1,000,000 square feet, he said.
Henry County Administrator Tim Hall did not disclose the names of the two potential tenants interested in locating to the business center, although he said that they both gave permission for their names to be disclosed to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Local efforts to land a tenant at the business center have been on hold due to the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision not to issue the grading permit until a tenant committed to a site at the business park. However, officials have said companies will not consider a site unless it is prepared.
The corps has been acting on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Hall said in October that there were two specified end users who had said they would consider locating in the park if the Corps of Engineers Regulatory Office in Norfolk issues the permit for site preparation.
Marshall said that Monday’s endorsement of the grant request for the center by the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. “is important for Henry County, Martinsville and southside Virginia.”
“It still has to be ratified in front of the full commission at the early January meeting in Richmond,” Marshall added. “The reason that Mark Heath (EDC president/CEO) wanted to have this meeting now was so that they could go ahead and get the ball rolling.”
Hall said he is pleased with the results of the committee meeting.
“I think this allows us to show the Army Corps of Engineers that there’s universal support from the state and local agencies involved,” he said. “We’ll have some dialogue with the corps and share with them the special committee meeting’s vote. We’ve had a fairly constant dialogue with the corps through the whole process. I feel confident that we are following the process that they’ve laid out for us.”
However, Hall said, “I don’t want anybody to get the idea that this is a done deal. ... It is a huge step in the process, and we’re certainly thrilled with it.”
Monday’s meeting was held at the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research in Danville.