April 4, 2014
Army Corps of Engineers grants permit for Commonwealth Crossing

MARTINSVILLE, Va. April 4, 2014 - Henry County, the Henry County Industrial Development Authority, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) have agreed upon and executed a long-sought permit from the ACOE that clears the way for development to begin at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre.

 The permit, granted by the ACOE under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, was required for Henry County to begin grading at the roughly 740-acre site near the North Carolina line. The final draft was signed by IDA Chairman Len Dillon and sent to the Corps’ Norfolk office on Tuesday. Colonel Paul Olsen of the ACOE notified County officials today that he signed the document and a hard copy was on its way.

 The finalized permit culminates an effort that began in 2007 when Henry County purchased most of the land for the new business park. Additional land was purchased in 2008 to reach the 740-acre total, and the County began to pursue its permit with the ACOE in the fall of 2012.

 “To say that we are excited about receiving this permit is an understatement,” said H.G. Vaughn, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors. “We think CCBC has the potential to change lives in Henry County and the City of Martinsville by providing new and exciting job opportunities for our citizens. This has been a long road, but today we can officially say that CCBC is under development.”

 Henry County officials have said in the past that it could take 18 to 24 months to grade and prep the site. Plans are to create about 140 to 170 acres of usable pad space for potential companies.

During the nearly two-year pursuit of the permit, County officials identified two potential “end users,” or clients, that indicated their interest in possibly locating at CCBC. This was a key step in negotiations with the ACOE.

 “We remain in discussions with multiple clients for the site,” said County Administrator Tim Hall. “We have a lot of work to do to move forward, now that the permit is ours. But it’s work that we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and we are ready to get started.”

Concurrent with the permit being received, additional project funding from the Harvest Foundation in the amount of $5,000,000 also will move forward. The Harvest Foundation has committed a total of $10,860,000 to the CCBC initiative.

 “We know the effort that has gone into securing this permit, and we are absolutely elated that CCBC will finally move forward,” said Allyson Rothrock, Executive Director of the Harvest Foundation. “This project is essential to Martinsville-Henry County’s long-term growth and the Harvest Foundation is excited to be involved.”

 Another key partner in the process is the Virginia Tobacco Commission, which has provided or committed to a total of $15,620,000 in funding for CCBC.

 “CCBC could not have gotten past the discussion stage without the Tobacco Commission,” Hall said. “The Commission’s commitment to this venture, and its faith in all of our partners to make it happen, is humbling. We particularly want to thank Commission members Danny Marshall, Don Merricks, and Butch Hamlet for advocating for this project from the start.”

 Other funding partners on the CCBC project include the City of Martinsville, the Virginia Economic Development Corporation, Mid-Atlantic Broadband, the Small Business Administration, and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation.

 “Our federal representatives also were key pieces in this process,” Hall said. “Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine, Congressman Morgan Griffith and Congressman Robert Hurt, and their staffs, worked diligently on this project. To see such a bipartisan effort was inspiring. I am not sure we would have succeeded without them.”

 Local officials are working on a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the successful completion of the permit pursuit. Details on that event will be released as soon as possible.

“This is a great day for Martinsville-Henry County,” said Mark Heath, President of the EDC. “We already are going full speed to place companies on the site, and now we can actually show them what we’ve been talking about for two years.”