IDA highlights growth at meeting

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority received an update on recent progress at Friday’s meeting.

Executive Director Kristy Johnson presented data that showed improvement with local projects, and the ongoing plan to increase employment in Halifax County.

She highlighted the importance of key points including business growth, real estate and infrastructure, regional engagements and partnerships, and organizational sustainability. She added that dashboard will be created as a graphic that will show the county’s metrics year-by-year.

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IDA approves budget, IperionX lease agreement

The Halifax County Industrial Development Authority approved the IDA budget for the coming year and ratified a lease agreement for the county’s Iperion X manufacturing plant on Friday.

With an otherwise light agenda for the June monthly meeting, the 2023-24 budget was the prime focus of the board discussion, with members expressing satisfaction at how the agency’s finances are shaping up in the coming fiscal year. The new budget takes effect July 1.

“It is a conservative budget, and I think [the IDA Finance Committee] put a lot of time and energy into [balancing information] from the current years and what we’ll have next year in the forecast,” said IDA treasurer Nancy Pool.

Executive Director Kristy Johnson said the budget has changed little from the current year’s package, which totals $2.3 million, but the IDA is prepared to handle any possible changes that could arise throughout the upcoming year.

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More funding flows for fiber network across Southside Va.

On May 11, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office announced the Southside Planning District Commission and its internet partner, EMPOWER Broadband, were awarded $8.5 million to expand its fiber network and services to an additional 4,804 addresses in portions of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax and Mecklenburg counties.

This 2023 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative award represents an additional project cost of $30.23 million and includes matching funds from the counties, Dominion Energy and EMPOWER.

This award supplements the previous $154 million project to which VATI contributed $69 million in 2022. This latest grant will include additional addresses in each of the counties, including over 2,000 within Greensville County, the newest partner to this regional broadband consortium. To illustrate the impact on each of the areas, the grant adds 153 addresses to Brunswick, 73 to Charlotte, 1,943 to Halifax, 2,041 to Greensville and 589 to Mecklenburg.

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Work on schedule for South Boston boat landing project set to open in July

Boat LaunchSouth Boston Town Council received updates on the Riverdale boat landing and hazard mitigation projects at a Monday evening work session.

Council also heard a report on the town’s use of its American Rescue Plan Act funds and mulled strategies for employee recruitment and retention.

Construction on the Greene’s Crossing Landing, near the Tucker C. Watkins Memorial Bridge in Riverdale, is well underway. The project is expected to be completed by the first of July. To date, Raab said the town has expended $370,000 in grant money for the project and has received back $71,000.

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Officials eye busy tourism year as VIR kicks off a weekend of speed

Virginia International Raceway is kicking off its season of major spectator events this weekend, marking the beginning of what promises to be a busy tourism season for the Danville, Halifax County and Pittsylvania County area.

The two events, Hyperfest: The Automotive Amusement Park and the SRO GT World Challenge, will bring tens of thousands of motorsports fans to the area in May and June.

The season gets underway with Haltech Hyperfest on Friday-Sunday. Hyperfest is one of the largest motorsports festivals on the East Coast and features road racing, car shows, ride-alongs, obstacle courses, karting, a kid zone, live music and more — truly something for everyone.VIR

The second event, the Fanatec SRO GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS will take place June 16-18, bringing the upper echelon of GT sports car racing to VIR.

Each of these events will bring both new and familiar faces to VIR and in turn, the surrounding areas, and an opportunity for our residents to show why we love the region so much.

“We’re so fortunate to have one of the most sought-after racetracks right in our backyard,” said LaTonya Hamilton, director of Halifax County Tourism. “2022 was a record-setting year for VIR and 2023 promises to be even better with new schedule additions, track upgrades and more. We want our local businesses to be aware of events so they can prepare and show VIR visitors how special our community is.”

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South Boston medical practice begins work on new facility

The physicians of Southern Gastroenterology Associates, joined by family members and other supporters, broke ground Tuesday on a new facility where colonoscopies and other medical procedures will be performed.

The 33,670 square foot building is going up at the Houghton Business Park in South Boston. Dr. Bakul Patel and Dr. Suresh Jayatilaka are the principles of the gastroenterological practice, which is located inside the medical building at 1129 North Main Street. That office will remain open for seeing patients; the new facility will be where those patients go to have procedures done.

Drs. Patel and Jayatilaka grabbed shovels for the groundbreaking event, flanked by Brian Burton of J.E. Burton Construction, the general contractor, Ronnie Moore of American National Bank, the project lender, and a host of others. Also turning the first shovels of dirt were family members Dr. Babita Patel, wife of Bakul and an internist and primary care physician, and Julia and Braedyn Jayatilaka, wife and son of Dr. Jayatilaka.

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GO Virginia event spotlights success of small entrepreneurs

Go VA Event Micah WhiteRural entrepreneurship was the focus of the annual “All-Hands Meeting” held Thursday by GO Virginia Region 3, a business-led economic development initiative that aims to foster regional growth through collaboration among business, education and government sectors.

The GO Virginia annual meeting, held at The Prizery, celebrated small businesses and entrepreneurs with a panel discussion, a comedic keynote speech, and a networking cocktail hour and dinner.

During his opening remarks, GO Virginia Region Council chair Tim Clark said the organization’s ability to bring people together is the foundation of its success. “We start to realize what our superpower is, what we were doing that had never been done before. The point of GO Virginia was to have regional collaboration. We found that in meetings where we brought communities and businesses together with education, with government, [collaboration] really became something that was noted.”

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A $20 million state grant announced Thursday is the final piece of funding needed to go forward with construction of a new Halifax County High School, said Superintendent of Schools Amy Huskin this week.HCHS Presentation 07 27 222 8 copy

“We know the community has been waiting for this news. We’ve been hanging in the balance on what we were going to do [to complete the HCHS project budget], and we are just so grateful for this news,” Huskin said.

County and school officials received confirmation Thursday that Halifax’s application for state grant dollars had been approved during a morning meeting of the Virginia Board of Education. The board oversees the Virginia Public School Construction Grant program, created by the General Assembly last year with a cash infusion of $450 million.

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