Funding for HIT Park received

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Former Gov. Ralph Northam on Jan. 13 announced $7 million in Virginia Business Ready Site Program development grants to develop industrial sites across the commonwealth, giving Prince Edward County $640,000 for the Heartland Innovative Technology (HIT) Park.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership administers these grants to promote the commonwealth’s competitive business environment and enhance its infrastructure. The HIT Park is a $1.5 million, 280-plus-acre site off Persimmon Tree Fork Road that was purchased to attract data center operations in May 2020.

“This is a significant step forward for our efforts to improve the marketability of the site and will help us on the path to raising it to Tier 4 status,” said Prince Edward County Administrator Douglas Stanley. “We will continue efforts to find the remaining funding to complete the project, but this is a great first step.”

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According to Stanley, the $640,000 will cover engineering costs for water and sewer improvements on-site. In addition, this grant and improvements will help the HIT Park move from a Tier 3 to a Tier 4 status, meaning that the location will be at full readiness for prospects.

“The Board of Supervisors and the County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) have made a meaningful investment in the future of Prince Edward County with the purchase and development of the HIT Industrial Park,” said Stanley. “We look forward to the potential jobs and investment that this site will bring to our community.”

Stanley also wanted to recognize Chelsey White, the county economic development and tourism director, who put together the grant application. According to Joe Hines of the Timmons Group, Prince Edward County competed with 25 other applicants for funding, and only 11 sites were chosen, showing that the county put together a strong application.

“This award is a strong endorsement by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for the project’s long-term regional impact and helps set the stage for future funding opportunities from the VBRSP, Tobacco Commission, GO Virginia and/ or US Economic Development Administration,” said Hines.

This grant came after The Prince Edward County IDA voted in March 2021 to move forward with the Timmons Group to raise the site from a Tier 2 to a Tier 3. This large site becoming a Tier 4 will create a prime location in Prince Edward County for potential investments.

“Having certified Tier 4 sites increases the region’s and Virginia’s competitiveness for significant economic development projects — with two major electric transmission lines crossing the site in combination with other key infrastructure, it’s an ideal location for a data center or other heavy power user,” said Hines. “These projects historically create $100+ million to over $1 billion in investment and create several hundred direct and indirect jobs, which should provide a significant return-on-investment for Prince Edward County and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”