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WOODLAWN – Throughout the dedication of the new Wildwood Commerce Park in Carroll County last Tuesday, it was stressed many times that the development of the park was all about jobs.
It was built with the main goal to provide jobs for residents of Galax and the Twin Counties.
Mike Maynard, a member of the Grayson County Board of Supervisors and chairman of the Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority (BRCEDA), applauded the cooperative efforts in establishing Wildwood.
The counties of Carroll and Grayson and the City of Galax joined efforts to create Wildwood with the hopes that industries and businesses would locate there and provide jobs. Area leaders had the courage and the vision to work together to create the business park site.
Maynard said Wildwood would enable the area to compete with neighboring North Carolina in providing land and infrastructure for development.
He called the development of the park an exciting day. “We think this is a breakthrough moment for our region economically.”
It was his hope that many of the people attending the dedication would look back in 20 years and know they were there at the start of the “transformation” of the Twin County economy.
Manus McMillan, a member of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors and chairman of the Carroll County Public Service Authority, said they were also dedicating the new regional water supply.
“We must have a substantial water supply when trying to attract new businesses to the park,” McMillan said. “When you have a good water supply it will only make the 167 acres park more valuable.”
Carroll County received a $2.2 million grant and a $5 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- Rural Development to install more than 20 miles of water lines to service the county and Wildwood.
Travis Jackson, Southwest Virginia area director for Rural Development, called Tuesday “a great day for everyone who had a role in making the park a reality.
“It took courage to come together to form the partnership,” he said. “The park is far ahead of other areas and it should pay dividends in years to come.”
5th District Del. Bill Carrico said it took a lot of foresight for local leaders to lay the foundation of rebuilding the Twin County economy and the job base.
“This is an example of what can happen when everyone works together to make things happen,” he said. “This park will improve the economy and hopefully provide good quality jobs in the near future.”
Sen. Roscoe Reynolds, a commissioner of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, said the commission provided a $1 million grant to Wildwood in 2010 to assist in property acquisition and $3.8 million for development.
Reynolds said he hoped to one day pass by the park on Interstate 77 and see plants and factories where over 400 people are working and making a decent living.
David Hutchens, BRCEDA vice chairman and a member of the Carroll County Board of Supervisors, said he remembered Maynard saying back at the beginning of the Wildwood project that they must do something transformational for our region. He said that we could not continue to wait for things to come to us, we must make them happen. A sure way to fail is to do nothing.
“Today is not about this piece of land…today is about job creation. This land’s a piece of the puzzle, and we believe with our heart and being it will create those jobs that we talked about, but it’s a part of the puzzle,” Hutchens said.
New jobs will keep our youth in the area and offer employment for those hard workers who lost their jobs in the downsizing of furniture and textiles.