Beaver Creek Drive Extension
Beaver Creek Drive serves as the main roadway inside of the Patriot Centre Industrial Park. This strip of asphalt connects many of the businesses which create the backbone of our local economy. The Patriot Centre Industrial Park is home to 4,000 employees working in a variety of industrial manufacturing and processing operations, including: Eastman, Monogram Snack Foods, Nautica, Hanesbrands, Bassett Furniture, Shenandoah Furniture, Howmet Aerospace, and Mehler.
As new industries are attracted to our resurging area, renovations will need to be made to accommodate the growing traffic throughout the industrial park.
Safety & Growth
SCHOCK, a German high-end sink manufacturer, announced in October 2021 that the Patriot Centre would be the site of its first American operation. This announcement came with $85 million in capital investment and the creation of 355 jobs. While this economic growth is positive news for the community, it also presents a safety concern for operations inside of the industrial park.
The traffic flows along the existing roadway are inefficient and counter intuitive. As part of the Patriot Centre Phase 2 project, two lanes on Beaver Creek Drive were constructed to Lots 8 and 10 which are now home to Eastman and SCHOCK. The original design called for four lanes; however, budget constraints limited the project scope. Once SCHOCK is operational, approximately 500 employees from these two industries will be traveling opposite of the typical traffic flow along Beaver Creek Drive. This does not include the traffic from other businesses and visitors.
To address the issue, a design was created to construct two lanes of Beaver Creek Drive to the next crossover and then back to the existing westbound lanes of Beaver Creek Drive. This new roadway consists of 5,122 linear feet (0.97 miles) along with the necessary drainage and striping features.
Along with increasing efficiency and reducing safety concerns, the roadway extension will also provide access to Lots 11-16, which represent the next phase of development for the industrial park. With some investments to prepare for Phase 3 of the park’s expansion, another 1,200 acres will be available with a potential return of more than $10 million to the region’s tax coffers.
The following link references a PDF file, demonstrating the proposed roadway changes to Beaver Creek Park and construction estimates: Beaver Creek Drive Funding Exhibit.
- The Patriot Centre Industrial Park is positioned for its next expansion, adding 355 jobs by the end of 2023 to the current 4,000 jobs on-site; but a critical roadway upgrade is important to continued safety and to accelerate growth. Current local budgets restricted the original scale of the roadway and securing federal partnership for this infrastructure upgrade will support additional job creation and business recruitment activities.
- Since 2014, the Martinsville-Henry County region has been focusing on ways to diversify the regional economy with the goal of long-term sustainable growth. A key component of the recommended strategy is to aim for recruitment of higher-paying employers. The Patriot Centre property along with several others and a proactive recruitment campaign coordinated to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in a region formerly celebrated for its textile and furniture industries. Incentives through Enterprise Zones, which covers acreage at the Patriot Centre, and other county-based support are also on the table to encourage private investment.
- The cost of the roadway is $4.3 million, well beyond the reach of current and projected budgets. But federal support can be used to incentivize additional grants and funding from sources like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Virginia Department of Transportation, allowing for fast-track completion of this important facility.
We intend to work with the following entities to explore potential matching funding for this project:
- Appalachian Regional Commission has recently invested $1.2 million in an access road associated with Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre. The commission is also investing in the completion of the Dick & Willie Trail.
- Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) sees this roadway as critical and eligible for funding under the Title 23, United States Code, and will place the project on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan. VDOT has also recently invested in the local trail system.
- GO Virginia Region 3 is a potential investor since recruitment of manufacturers is considered a key component of the Region's Growth and Diversification Plans (G & D Plan) designed to serve as guidance for state investments and to assist local economic development teams with their promotional and recruitment strategies.
Rural Revitalization Roadmap
Henry County, in partnership with the City of Martinsville, has become a model rural locality demonstrating how economic recovery must be forward-thinking, embracing a broad range of collective activities for success. The MHC formula consists of creating strategic partnerships combined with sustained focus and investments. Recovery from decades of job losses associated with globalization and the shuttering of numerous manufacturers has not been easy.
Several steps were taken that contributed to this long-standing recovery. Henry County and Martinsville invested in several industrial park sites to ensure regional competitiveness. The Patriot Centre improvements fall under that strategy, as does the nearby Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre. Further, the region collaborates with the local community college and technical institutes to address the chronic demands around workforce readiness. Similarly, a highly collaborative campaign to identify and address childcare and early childhood education challenges is underway and is advancing in areas that were previously lacking: the expansion of more flexible slots supporting second and third shift workers, infant care, and sick care. Additionally, we have focused on expanding our outdoor recreation assets through partnerships with several federal, state and nonprofit organizations. This helps to improve the quality of life for our growing workforce.
Success at MHC translates to success for the Commonwealth. The strategies deployed here can serve as an example for other rural localities struggling to overcome decades of decline resulting from massive economic shifts. Adopting a holistic approach to addressing the many components of economic revival is one lesson learned and implemented. Another is proactive outreach to federal and state partners to identify and secure solutions for particular challenges. The proposed request for the Beaver Creek Drive Extension can serve as another example of these time-sensitive collaborations delivering positive impact.