Regions Shenandoah Valley

Page County has a plan to promote growth while preserving rural setting

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by Heather B. Hayes

Like other areas of Virginia, Page County has lost a number of factory jobs in recent years. Local officials are putting together a plan to attract new industries while taking pains not to detract from its rural setting and tourism attractions, such as Luray Caverns.

The county’s biggest employers now include VF Jeanswear, EMCO Anderson Doors and KVK Precision Specialties. County officials want to attract light manufacturing firms and high-tech companies providing services such as continuity of operations, data storage and research.

The county has a three-pronged approach to changing its economy:

• upgrade its infrastructure to include broadband connectivity,
• develop work-force training programs at local high schools and Lord Fairfax Community College, and
• identify sites that would allow companies and community organizations to be located in the same business parks.

The last part of that strategy is designed to balance tradition and progress, says Thomas Cardman, the county’s assistant county administrator for economic development. “We don’t want to harm the assets that we already have in the county, which would be our rural nature and our tourism industry,” he says. “Whenever we do anything, we have to be mindful of that goal.”
The county also has conducted a number of studies on its sewer, water, electrical and transportation systems. In February, it will get the results of a broadband connectivity study funded by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

“That will provide us with a map for the future as to what will be required and what we will need to do to provide higher-speed connectivity in locations throughout the county,” Cardman says.

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