by Teresa Martin

With the upcoming election, one of the things on many American’s minds is our economy, and where new jobs will be coming from. Henry County, VA is taking proactive steps to invest in its economy with the Commonwealth Crossing Business Center, a 720-acre site located in Martinsville. The site is rail-served, and has all utilities in place, including water/sewer, electric, fiber, and natural gas. The first phase of the project is projected to be completed by late October. Anderson & Associates has been involved since the project’s beginnings providing site planning, design and survey services.

The weather last winter interrupted some initial work, but plans are now on track and on schedule.

“From the start, we knew it would take at least ten years for the seeds to grow into flowers at the business center”, says Allyson Rothrock, president of the Harvest Foundation, “and we’re seeing really positive opportunity now”. This development comes as manufacturing, including that of textiles and furniture, is returning to the United States.

The project is being funded by Henry County, City of Martinsville, Commonwealth of Virginia, Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, U.S. Economic Development Administration and Harvest, which has invested $10.7 million in the effort.

The EDC is marketing the site, targeting suppliers and other companies involved with the growing aerospace industry in the Greensboro, NC area, food and plastics, and other industries.

Rothrock’s hopes are that the companies coming into the area to build will create good jobs that pay “living” wages that will not only help the employees, but also the area’s tax base. According to local statistics, the current average hourly wage for a Machine Operator is $12.41 and the current manufacturing labor force population is 138,615 within a 50 mile radius.

These are exciting times for the area, as they focus their efforts on economic development.

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