Dahl and Schmack talk about economic development

By Page H. Gifford

In a recent interview on This Week at the Lake, host Ron Krauss interviewed County Administrator Eric Dahl and Director of Economic Development Jennifer Schmack and discussed the current state of economic development in Fluvanna County.

Dahl described the four main areas of development in Fluvanna, including Lake Monticello, Palmyra, Zion Crossroads, and Fork Union. Two smaller potential growth areas are Columbia and a  small section of Scottsville. Except for Palmyra, all of the designated areas  have seen signs of growth, either with developments or businesses.

Two key elements often cited by county officials in rural areas are the need for water and the internet. Firefly, a subsidiary of CVEC (Central Virginia Electric Cooperative), has been moving quickly to get rural areas of the county connected with faster internet.

Schmack explained the common themes for economic development in Fluvanna, which include business retention and attraction, workforce development, and tourism.

“Some of the targets on our industry list are agricultural businesses, wood manufacturing, and light industrial,” said Schmack. Dahl and Schmack talked about the specific areas for growth and their current status. Palmyra, Dahl said, would remain the historical hub with small businesses and administration buildings, and the courthouse but that development could occur across the river or next to E.W. Thomas.

Fork Union has been getting more attention with the proposed business park behind the Fork Union community —  but water is an issue. However, some businesses are relocating to that area, including Stewart Tool, a metal fabricator, and Silk City Printing.

Currently, the business park is still in the planning stages while Fork Union is served by the Fork Union Sanitary District (FUSD) for its water. The goal, Dahl explained, is to supply water from the James Water Authority agreement with Louisa County to aid in the design of the park’s infrastructure and future business development. There have been businesses that strongly wanted to build in Fluvanna in the Zion Crossroads area, such as a craft brewery, but much-needed water for the project wasn’t available.

“Dominion Energy gave the county 50 million dollars, proffers for closing the coal ash plant, for water improvement and to offset the costs of the James River Water Authority,” said Dahl. Krauss asked how the JRWA project was progressing. “The alternative analysis of the original intake at Point of Fork shows other potential sites and studies have been done at one site two miles down from the original location.”

What does the future of the Lake and any development there look like?

“There are a couple of exciting things percolating,” said Schmack who declined to say more about it.

“Solar fields are also going in various locations, including behind the CVEC substation on Rt. 600 and Carysbrook road. None of them will be seen.”

Dahl and Schmack were enthusiastic about the direction Fluvanna is headed.

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