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Pittsylvania County News

Posted on: November 13, 2020

With regional approach, Pittsylvania County Economic Development has success in 2020, set for more

Pittsylvania County Logo2017_2

From winning prestigious awards as a region to officially forming a regional economic development alliance to seeing several impactful job announcements, Pittsylvania County has had a successful year in terms of economic development. These successes, in large part, are the result of continued efforts to coordinate economic development strategy and tasks with the entire region. 

"When we combine all of our assets together, we're a really strong force and we can compete with anybody," Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe said in a recent economic development summit sponsored by the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

"It truly has been a regional effort," Danville Economic Development Director Corrie Bobe said in the same summit. 

In September the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors and Danville City Council approved the terms of a formal, regional economic development alliance between the two localities and several area institutions. After years of frequently working jointly on economic development efforts through entities like the Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA) and Staunton River RIFA, this formal partnership between Danville and Pittsylvania County will provide more consistent guidance and bring in more community partners. The alliance is being overseen by a leadership council comprised of Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman, Danville City Manager Ken Larking, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Alexis Ehrhardt, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Executive Director Mark Gignac, Danville Regional Foundation President & CEO Clark Casteel, along with an industry leader from each locality. 

"Regional collaboration and coordination between is what allows the entire region, including Pittsylvania County, to excel," said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. 

The alliance was adopted based on the recommendation of a regional economic development strategic plan, which provides guidance and direction for how the entire region can participate in economic development effectively and collectively. 

The year has seen many national recognitions as well. Earlier this year Pittsylvania County, the City of Danville, and the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance - which includes both localities and several surrounding counties - collectively won the 2020 Community Economic Development Award from the Southern Economic Development Council, which covers states from Florida to Texas to Virginia to Kansas. In April, Site Selection Magazine, which is a trade resource, ranked Danville and Pittsylvania County as the No. 6 Micropolitan Area in the entire United States, based on factors like business capital investments, creation of new jobs, and development of new floor space. 

As a result of all that regional and county-level success before and through 2020, Rowe was also named to Virginia Business 2020 Power List, which recognizes 500 Virginia leaders from sectors such as government, education, and economic development. 

Despite the negative economic impacts of COVID-19, several large job announcements have occurred this year. Staunton River Plastics announced in May that it would invest $34 million and create 200 jobs at a new facility at the Southern Virginia Multimodal Park in Hurt, while Ison Furniture announced just last month that it would locate in Axton, creating 150 jobs. Dogwood Global will locate on the same site as Ison and create 45 jobs. 

Due to positive, regional relationships and coordination, the outlook remains positive for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. Utilizing a Tobacco Commission grant, the Staunton River RIFA is working to develop a 50-acre pad at the Hurt Industrial Park to attract interested businesses. Other promising projects are in the pipeline and would have positive impacts on the entire region. Of course, the Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, a 3,5000 acre site with quality infrastructure options from Danville, Pittsylvania County, and the City of Eden, also remains available and has drawn interest from many companies. 

"Because of the significant investments each of the surrounding localities has made, the Megasite has the potential to attract transformative employers and shift the makeup of our region," said Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman. 

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