The complex issue of moving commercial traffic and employees in and out of the developing Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre received a bit of a green light on Tuesday.

The Henry County Board of Supervisors awarded a contract for engineering related to Phase 1 of highway improvements at the northern entrance to the complex, which is at Martinsville Loop Road and Spencer Road.

“This would just be the engineering design work on improving the entrance in to Commonwealth Crossing, and as that part begins to grow, we’ll need better access than a two-lane road, and we know that,” Henry County Deputy Administrator Dale Wagoner said in an interview. “So we want to get out ahead of the game and start thinking about when that part is full, roadways in and out of the park, making sure they are adequate for the traffic.

“They’re [existing roads] adequate for what’s there now. It’s a two-lane road coming in. ... The engineering design will look and see what improvements are needed to make sure we can accommodate the future traffic.”

Wagoner said the county doesn’t have projections on future traffic. “This is the very early stage that would look at the traffic counts, projections, and kind of say from here where you need to go,” he said.

The supervisors at their 3 p.m. meeting — the first of their two monthly sessions — awarded $142,850 to Timmons Group for that engineering work. A board document says Henry County received a site development grant of $65,702 from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for a portion of the project.

Supervisors also spent money on another mode of transportation — boats — by awarding a contract for $104,893 to ROBCO Manufacturing to install marina structures needed to add 16 boat slips at Philpott Lake.

“This is the same company that has done prior work at the marina,” County Administrator Tim Hall said. “As a side note, we now have 125 people on the waiting list for slips at Philpott [Marina].”

Said Wagoner: “Philpott Lake is one of our gems in our community. People from all over the East Coast come to visit. The marina is part of that attraction, for people to come out and enjoy the marina and take their boats out on the water. To be able to provide this opportunity for people just creates more interest in our area, creates tourism, increases sales tax and things like that.”

He said most of the work will begin around October, after the prime lake season concludes.

“We hope to have it [construction] finished like by March, April,” he said.

Reinforcing the sheriff’s office

Supervisors also awarded a contract to Town Gun Shop for ballistic body armor and equipment for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and authorized the county staff to exercise subsequent renewals in accordance with the terms of the contract.

“Federal regulations require that ballistic vests be replaced five years after issue,” Sheriff Lane Perry wrote in an email to the supervisors. “Our vests are replaced as they reach the 5-year date as required. The amount spent each year will vary according to the number of vests expiring.

“Our office participates with the federal Ballistic Vests Program, where they match up to 50% of the costs of the vests. The expected expenditures over the next five years is estimated to be approximately $200,000.”

In other business, supervisors:

  • Appropriated two $10,000 grants from The Harvest Foundation: one to assist the county Parks and Recreation Department with planning for a future county fair, the other to purchase water rescue equipment and provide water rescue training to first responders.
  • Appropriated a $15,260 grant from the Library of Virginia to preserve records in Circuit Court.
  • Awarded a contract of approximately $45,000 annually to Pierce Group Benefits of Charlottesville for employee benefits consulting services for Henry County and Henry County Public Schools. This expense requires joint approval from the Henry County School Board.
  • Voted to establish a 30-day comment period beginning Aug. 27 and ending Sept. 27 to receive additional input regarding $14,970 the sheriff’s office would receive in an Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant. The comment period is one requirement for the grant.
  • Heard a report from County Treasurer Scott Grindstaff that, as of July 31, his office had collected 92.7% of personal property taxes and 94.34% of real estate taxes for 2018. Personal property tax collected in July was $89,938.06, and real estate tax was $152,406.07. The county has collected $877,041.41 since Jan. 1.
  • Approved an appropriation of $5,997 from State Asset Forfeiture funds to cover the cost of additional travel expenses, professional services and computer equipment for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.

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