The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently awarded Henry County $1.2 million for Reservoir Road improvements project.
The funds will be used to help improve 3,550 linear-feet of Reservoir Road and update gravel roadways to meet Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) standards, according to releases from U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and Ninth District U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith.
The project will support the creation of 400 new jobs, help leverage approximately $188 million in private investments, and improve access to the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre, a development for advanced manufacturing.
In addition to the ARC funds for this project, Henry County will provide $445,000, bringing the total to $1,645,000, the senators noted.
“We’re pleased that more infrastructure dollars are headed to Henry County,” said Warner, D-Alexandria and Kaine, D-Richmond. “This project is another key investment in creating jobs, connecting people to local industry, and making our roads safer and stronger for decades to come.”
Brandon Martin, the county’s Public Relations and Community Liaison, said the funds will be instrumental in bringing more industries and increased revenues.
Griffith, R-Salem, said “improving Reservoir Road is important to the success of Commonwealth Crossing. ARC’s award of $1.2 million for road improvements is a critical investment in the site and will enhance the potential for economic development.”
“Commonwealth Crossing Business Center is our newest industrial park in the area and a lot of our attention has been focused on getting high quality industries into that area,” said Martin. He explained that currently this center has to be accessed by going down into North Carolina and then back up to Virginia. Additionally, this road will provide an alternate route of access in case of an emergency.
One of the purposes of the grant is to make Reservoir Road a primary road that is maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation. This road is currently a secondary gravel road, so the grant will go towards paving the road, creating storm sewer and drainage ditches, guardrails, traffic control and other construction, as necessary.
Martin added that residents living in the area also will benefit from the use of this road, as well as the job opportunities that new industry will bring to the area.
Martin said an additional $440,000 in funds is still needed before the project can begin and the county will seek the additional funding from other sources.
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments that innovates and invests to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in 423 counties across the Appalachian region. Since 1965, ARC has invested $4.5 billion in approximately 28,000 economic development projects across Appalachia, attracting over $10 billion in matching project funds.