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Riverstone Funding Approved

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has approved $471,000 for a power upgrade project at Riverstone Technology Park.

The decision was made Thursday during the commissions’ meeting in Roanoke.

“The Commission approved Southside Economic Development Commission’s recommendation to fund portions of an application submitted by the Industrial Development Authority of Halifax County,” said IDA Director Mike Sexton.  “The funding total was $471,000 which includes a power upgrade and a building up-fit to accommodate an existing Halifax business and to attract new businesses to Riverstone.

The funding consists of $200,000 for an engineering study to upgrade the Welco substation to provide 20 mega watts of power to the Riverstone Technology Park where nine mega watts currently exists, Sexton explained.

“The timing required for this study is six months,” he said.  “This will begin the 18-month process of upgrades needed for the 34.5 kV distribution system that will help attract a data center to the park.”

The remaining $271,000 is for the power backup of the current operations of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative located in Riverstone Technology Centre and building up-fit and electrical/mechanical upgrade necessary for a small data center now referred to as a service center for managed services and network sharing.  The funding is contingent upon a lease being negotiated and finalized, according to the IDA director. 

“These up-fits and upgrades will help prepare Halifax County to attract and compete for data centers or large electrical users,” Sexton added.  “Prospects are seeking ready-to-go properties; a community cannot wait until a client comes in to begin to plan to address infrastructure needs.  By addressing these needs up front, the Industrial Development Authority is demonstrating the aggressiveness of the community to attract investment and jobs.”

The bidding process has begun for the pad ready and site ready development of lots in Riverstone that was previously approved for funding by the Tobacco Commission, according to Sexton.

“This work is expected to be complete in the Fall of 2010,” he said.  “The site work combined with the electrical upgrade process will help position Halifax County to attract projects as the economy improves.”

During the meeting, the commission also approved a $185,000 request from the Halifax Educational Foundation for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the renovation of the American Tobacco Warehouse (bag factory) in South Boston, according to Sen.Frank Ruff.