Hearing planned March 1 on business park expenses

A public hearing is planned on March 1 on a proposal to spend $2.5 million to plan water, sewer and gas infrastructure at Shannon Hill Regional Business Park.

Louisa County Economic Development Director Andy Wade previously requested the money as part of the capital improvement budget, but he asked the board of supervisors to fast-forward the project through a supplemental budget appropriation. That would make the money available immediately, rather than after July 1.

“Utilities are an important step toward a ‘shovel-ready’ site, which is in turn critical to the creation of the park’s anticipated positive economic impact and job growth for the county,” Wade said.

The county acquired the 700-acre business park property in January 2019 after a series of public meetings at which numerous citizens said they were opposed to it. The park is controversial because of its location in a rural area, but county officials believe its proximity to an Interstate 64 exit makes it attractive for economic development.

Once water, sewer and gas lines are designed and easements acquired, the county can deliver utility service within one year, Wade said. 

“We need to be in a position to deliver utilities quickly, and while a specific end user is permitting and constructing their project in the growth area and/or business park,” he said.

The county intends to extend water and sewer lines along the Route 250 corridor from Ferncliff to Shannon Hill Road, then up the latter road to the business park entrance just past the north side of the interstate.

The work can’t proceed until the county brings water from the James River. It’s still unclear when or if the county will have access to that water, though progress has been made in recent months on identifying an alternative location for the James River Water Project. The water treatment plant and sewer pump station at Ferncliff are waiting to go into service.

The public hearing will occur during the board of supervisors meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the Louisa County Office Building. A hearing is required because the $2.5 million is more than one percent of the total county budget.

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