Development Partnership Formalized
Friday, July 27, 2012
Senator Frank Ruff presented a substantial check to the Southern Virginia RIFA during a special ceremony July 25 at the Golden Leaf Commons. Representatives of three localities also signed the Southern RIFA (Regional Industrial Facility Authority) Agreement to fund the development of the mega site.
In January the Virginia Tobacco Commission awarded $5.7 million to purchase and develop a megasite in Greensville County. The City of Emporia and Mecklenburg were co-applicants of Greensville County's application to the Tobacco Commission for the grant.
The County and its partners requested funding to accomplish three high priority tasks; acquire an additional 820.66 acres within the project boundaries, complete engineering and design work for the expansion of Otterdam Road to serve the site, and clearing and rough grading for 150 acres of the project site to help facilitate a vision on-site for potential clients.
Regional economic impact analysis indicates an economic benefit ranging from $2.8 billion and 2,487 permanent jobs for an advanced manufacturing center, to $3.7 billion and 3,297 permanent jobs for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) such as Toyota or Volkswagen.
Senator Ruff presented the check to Greensville County Board of Supervisors Chairman Peggy Wiley, Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors Chairman Glenn Barbour and City Councilman Jim Saunders as several people involved in the project watched and cheered, including City and County government, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, and Joe Hines of Timmons Group.
"Great strides have been made in the development and marketing of the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center (megasite) over the last two years," said Natalie Slate, Economic Director for Greensville County. "The Tobacco Commission grant celebrated 15 months ago allowed the purchase of over 400 acres to occur. In addition, the local contributions have continued development of the upgrades to the County's Wastewater Treatment Plant and City's Water Treatment Plant." The County has already purchased 422 of the 1,545 acres of land.
The MAMaC site in the Otterdam Road area is still the only McCallum Sweeney Certified Megasite in Virginia and North Carolina, she said, noting that the site has been selected by VDEP as one of the seven strategic properties for development. CSX has added MAMaC to their website as one of their certified sites. Southern Business and Development Magazine has included MAMaC in their top-10 list for the second year in a row. "The annual list, to be released this fall, honors MAMaC as one of 'The Ten Best Megasites in the South for the Big Kahuna,'" Slate said.
Senator Ruff praised Greensville County, Emporia and Mecklenburg County for working together on the project and for thinking "outside the parameters" that have been established over the years to bring economic development to their communities.
The group was also gathered to celebrate the partnership formed between Greensville County, Mecklenburg County and the City of Emporia.
"These localities have recognized the need for economic growth in the Southern Virginia region for the comfort, convenience and welfare of their citizens," said Slate.
"They have agreed to create the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center Regional industrial Facilitates Authority to fund and oversee the development of MAMaC. After many revisions and wordsmithing, I for one am very excited that this day is here and am proud to celebrate the union of these governments for the betterment of the region."
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who received a standing ovation, thanked Senator Ruff and the Tobacco Commission for being such great partners. He gave a lot of credit to the local leaders in Greensville County, Emporia and Mecklenburg County for coming together to support such a tremendous project as the mega site, which would transform this part of Southside Virginia.
There are some other areas that have begun the megasite process or contemplating it but Lt. Gov. Bolling said he expected MAMaC to be one of the most important megasites developed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
"This is exciting," he said. "It is critical that Virginia be the home of the next major manufacturing site. What you do with this site can unlock the door for future success."
Lt. Gov. Bolling said, "I salute you for stepping up to the plate to make the megasite work. I have great hope for what you can accomplish. He also commended them for their dedication, commitment and perserverance on the project, which was Greensville County Administrator Dave Whittington's idea.
He praised the local governments saying that their willingness to spend money and undertake such a tremendous project in these hard economical times showed wisdom and forethought, noting the localities cooperation instead of competition. "You are the exception and not the rule," stressed the Lt. Gov. "My hat is off to you," he said noting that he was there to help them realize their goal and commended them for investing in the future of their communities with the goal of bringing revenue and jobs to the area.
After the ceremony, everyone sat down to a delicious chicken and barbecue meal catered by Fosho Restaurant.
For additional information contact Ibbie Hedrick at 804-225-2487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.