Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Region needs economic development plan: : cease whining because we ain’t mining.


Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 9:20 am
To the editor,

Mr. Moser’s July 2 letter asks why there was no community support for the Tralin paper company.
The community at large had no knowledge of “Project Cavalier.” As such, the public could neither support or oppose such an industry.

Rather than seek out imaginary boogie-men to blame for Tralin’s decision to locate in Chesterfield, we should use this as an opportunity to examine facts and improve our odds of attracting an industry of this size in the future.

A RichmondBizSense.com article states, “The facility will sit on 850 acres backing up to the James River and just east of Interstate 95.  It’s a site that Chesterfield Economic Development Director Will Davis said offers a long list of infrastructure advantages the group highlighted to lure Tralin to the county.”

Unlike Danville and Pittsylvania County, it appears that Chesterfield actually has an economic development director whose sole job is economic development.  Can Danville and Pittsylvania County improve their economic departments?

The article states, “This site has multiple transport points to it, whether it’s the interstate, rail or the river,” Davis said. “It’s zoned properly, you have the county wastewater treatment plant next door, the Dominion power plant right there, which means they have a good, steady supply of power.”

Except for the zoning designation, these components are missing from the Berry Hill site.  How can we improve or overcome these deficiencies?

The article further states that Jerry Peng of Tralin said Chesterfield beat several other localities on both coasts to the project with its readily available utilities, transportation and labor resources.
Danville and Pittsylvania must examine deficiencies in these areas, find and implement solutions to allow the region to become competitive.

The James River Industrial Center is listed as a mega site in the Port of Virginia Market.  Berry Hill is not. How might we be included in this designation?

Unlike the Dan River, James River is not reeling from a large coal ash spill.  The region needs to pressure Duke to clean up the coal ash dump and clean the river.

Mr. Moser’s speculation as to why Chinese paper manufacturer Tralin chose Chesterfield County neglected facts. Instead, he chose to place blame on “a small and vocal group of individuals.”

One could just as easily, and perhaps as erroneously, blame the inflammatory billboard touting Pittsylvania County as the home of a future uranium mine as an economic development deterrent.

Perhaps Moser and fellow members of Virginia Uranium’s People for Economic Development in Southside should cease whining because we ain’t mining.

Instead, place focus on encouraging a comprehensive plan for economic development in our region.

Karen B. Maute