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IDA ponders sale, lease of building

Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Board of Directors came from behind closed doors Friday morning and amended a motion adopted last month to include the word “lease.”

Last month board members authorized Executive Director Matt Leonard and authority Chairman John Cannon to execute documents related to the sale of the Flex-Tech building (located in the industrial park on Highway 58) to a current prospect.

On Friday, they amended the motion to execute documents related to “the sale or lease” of the Flex-Tech building to a current prospect.

Leonard said Friday he could divulge no additional details concerning the identity of the prospect or what type of business is involved.

Also during their meeting at Riverstone Friday morning, authority board members extended the contract for Riverstone Energy Center Executive Director Dr. Doug Corrigan through July 31, 2014. 

Corrigan was unable to attend Friday’s meeting because he is taking a class to become a certified business coach through North Carolina State University, Leonard said. The class is designed to assist business start-ups and ventures through the incubation program.

In Corrigan’s absence, Leonard offered an update on the recent Symposium on U. S. Renaissance in Advanced Manufacturing attended by approximately 250 participants from all over the country and Germany.

According to a breakdown of participants, attending were 110 private industry representatives, 23 kindergarten-12th grade teachers, 21 community college or university instructors, 42 kindergarten-12th grade students, 26 university students, 10 from government and four consultants.

In his report, Corrigan described the ribbon cutting for National Center for Coatings that kicked off the symposium last month as “a major success.”

He said a diverse group attended who made “very positive remarks about our assets and progress” including guest speaker Leland Melvin who “was extremely impressed with what he saw.”

According to Corrigan’s report, Melvin is “brainstorming” ways the center can partner with NASA.

“Training seminars the week of the symposium went well and were well represented by different industries from across America,” he said.

He noted that Honda is scheduled to visit the National Center for Coatings in December for a temporary project.

Also as part of his report, Corrigan said modeling and simulation interns “were very helpful and served during our symposium to help with pictures and videos.”

Concerning education and outreach at the energy center, Corrigan said scholarships were made available for students from the southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Halifax County High School, Virginia Tech, SVC, DCC and Longwood University’s Digispired program to attend the symposium last month at Riverstone and The Prizery. 

In other authority business Friday morning, the following actions were taken:

Were informed the Riverstone One reception desk has been installed, and office upgrades are complete;

 Learned authority board member Ted Bennett has agreed to serve a second term leaving one vacancy on the board since Marcus Hargrave has completed his second consecutive four-year term and is ineligible to serve again;

Leonard requested board members offer suggestions for Hargrave’s replacement in time to be presented to the board of supervisors at the December meeting.

 Were informed the executive director is reviewing all long-term debt to determine if restructuring could result in savings to the authority;

 Learned the master plan for the Halifax County Fairgrounds site is complete and has been presented to the county;

Leonard said he had attended a presentation on the master plan and will continue to work with County Administrator Jim Halasz to determine best uses for the land allocated for industrial and business development at the fairgrounds;

 Were told Leonard has conducted 12 client visits to date and scheduled Robert Smith of Grand Springs as guest presenter at the board’s December meeting;

 Were informed the authority’s logo and new website has been launched, and marketing collaterals like business cards for authority board members are being produced and designed;

 Were informed the authority has submitted an application for a $1.3 million tobacco commission economic development grant to continue rehabilitation of the former Daystrom Furniture facility now known as Green View Advanced Manufacturing Center, while supervisors tabled action on providing a $150,000 local match commitment until their December board meeting; 

 Learned the authority executive director visited the Port of Virginia and met with the economic development manager and is planning a possible presentation by the Port of Virginia and Foreign Trade Zone administrator during the authority’s January board meeting; and

 Considered changing meeting dates from monthly to every other month with a decision to be made at the December meeting.