HURT, Va. — After more than a year since its announcement and multiple delays attributed to Covid-19 effects, “Project Emotion” − a moniker for the Staunton River Plastics (SRP) facility slated for construction at Southern Virginia Multimodal Park (SVMP) in Hurt − continues inching ever closer the eve of its groundbreaking.
The Staunton River Regional Industrial Facility Authority (SRRIFA) Board of Directors met May 25 in Chatham. A sizable part of their agenda consisted of ratifying key documents leading up to commencement of actual site preparation and construction.
Five resolutions were considered that would: (1) amend an existing performance agreement to reflect changes in financing; (2) approve a subdivision plat developed by engineers for the parcel of SVMP land; (3) exercise SRRIFA’s option to acquire the tract from Hurt Partners LLC (current SVMP owners) and in turn resell it to Pittsylvania County Industrial Development Authority (PCIDA) for actual development and leasing; (4) adopt “protective covenants” − land use regulations within the SVMP; (5) issue final approval of detailed site plans and specifications for the project.
Hurt Mayor Gary Hodnett, who was voted SRRIFA board chairman for the remainder of 2021 early in the meeting, confirmed during a June 1 follow-up call that the measures were all passed unanimously after moderate discussion.
Due to their length and complexity, it is impractical to detail the documents’ contents within the scope of a news article. In short, they are formal steps that must be taken to finalize and make official the products of various negotiations that have been in process for about two years. The resolutions as presented are public information and are accessible on Pittsylvania County’s website at: pittsylvaniacountyva.gov/AgendaCenter
When asked if he had particular thoughts or aspirations going forward as chairperson, Hodnett remarked: “I am anxious to see Staunton River Plastics underway at the SVMP and I am confident it is going to happen.” Continuing, he noted that his fellow board members are upbeat despite no exact groundbreaking date being available at the time.
Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe shared that practically every aspect of the SRP project has been impacted by effects of Covid-19, collectively adding up to “a good 7 months” of previously unexpected delays.
Each component and step of the project − from engineering to financing to permitting and procurement of materials, even the ability to conduct important meetings − has faced repeated setbacks along the way, Rowe explained Tuesday. Nonetheless, he upheld that the project is progressing and everyone is working to move it forward as quickly as circumstances allow.
According to documents, Project Emotion will involve a 19.623 acre tract that includes the footprint of the former Burlington Industries facility that closed in 2007 − a site that provides railroad access which is critical to SRP’s operations.
SRRIFA is the entity facilitating and promoting development of SVMP and holds options with Hurt Partners LLC for any or all of the industrial park. In this arrangement, it will contemporaneously resell the tract to PCIDA which will in turn function as developer by constructing and leasing the building to SRP under a lease-purchase agreement.
The initial phase is for a 150,000 square foot facility, with an additional 100,000 square foot expansion to follow within the next few years. Ultimately, the project is expected to generate about 200 jobs and $34 million of investments into the Staunton River region.