Altavista

ALTAVISTA — After making economic development a town priority, Altavista is on track to absorb a 50-acre business park into the town for a $1 million price tag.

Following a public hearing Tuesday night, Altavista Town Council unanimously approved a boundary adjustment, allowing it to draw Campbell County’s Dearing Ford Business and Manufacturing Center into the town for future industrial development.

Altavista approached the county in March 2018 to pursue growth opportunities for the town, and in a culmination of more than a year of conversations, the Campbell County Board of Supervisors approved both the boundary line adjustment and the transfer of property ownership in early August.

“This has been a deal in the making for a very long time,” said town council member and vice mayor Beverley Dalton. “Things like this don’t happen in the flash of a pan … it’s a progressive move for us.”

The boundary adjustment would transfer all ownership of the property, currently assessed at $389,300, to Altavista, and the town would inherit primary marketing and maintenance responsibilities for the site. The adjustment includes the entire undeveloped property.

The park is made up of 28 acres adjacent to Walmart and an additional 21.75 acres on Dearing Ford Road off of U.S. 29.

Council members spoke in support of the proposal, reiterating the importance of this acquisition for future growth in Altavista.

Council member Reggie Bennett said the addition would prepare the town for impending opportunities as “good things” come to the area, citing Amazon’s recent announcement to build a solar farm in Gretna.

“We are basically landlocked right here as far as any kind of development; we don’t have anywhere to go,” Bennett said. “Our area is starting to get noticed and we need to be ready for it.”

Altavista Town Manager Waverly Coggsdale said the Dearing Ford property would be a potential spot for expansion or relocation for local companies.

Altavista is home to several large industries — like Abbott Laboratories, BGF Industries, Graham Packaging Co. and Rage Plastics — which act as major town employers. Abbott, a nutritional-products manufacturing company, employs more than 500 people in Altavista. BGF produces industrial textiles and employs more than 600, while Graham, a plastic packaging company, employs about 50.

“This gives a product to offer to someone coming into the community,” town council member Wayne Mitchell said. “It’s an economic boom for us in the long run.”

Conditional to the boundary change is a shift in annual transactions between the county and town. Since the 2006 boundary line adjustment that brought the Walmart shopping area into the town, Altavista has paid the county about $80,000 annually in meal’s tax revenue, and the county allocates $25,000 to the town each year.

The prospective boundary line adjustment proposes to discontinue both annual payments. In their place, Altavista will make a one-time payment of $1 million to the county.

After Tuesday night’s approval of the boundary line adjustment agreement, town council set a public hearing for its Aug. 27 work session to consider the purchase of the property from the county.

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I cover Appomattox and Campbell counties for The News & Advance.

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