Two years ago Waynesboro City Council took a $3.5 million gamble by purchasing land for a future industrial park. Thursday, council members found out how much more they might have to spend to see the investment really pay off.
Waynesboro's deputy city manager says he has shown the Exit 96 park to industrial prospects - only to have them go elsewhere, to construction-ready sites with water, sewer and roads in place.
A consulting team showed Waynesboro what it would take to make the business park on South Delphine Avenue attractive to tenants.
The site already has easy access to Interstate 64, and the Norfolk Southern Railway. Consultants say it would cost roughly $5 million to grade four industrial and two commercial sites and make them suitable for construction.
"Basically, you're just talking about sewer, water and roads. There are still a lot of other things. Because there's so much competition for businesses out there, businesses want you to give them everything," said Frank Lucente, city councilor.
Lucente says development should happen in gradual phases. He says he has seen other cities go into debt for similar infrastructure projects and still fail to attract new employers.
Waynesboro's City Council and Economic Authority will explore outside funding for the industrial park. The money could come from sources like the Virginia Department of Transportation, a community-development block grant, and the governor's Opportunity Fund.
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