Dickenson County to develop small industrial park
Work will start on a new industrial park on the site of a former strip mine in Dickenson County in late summer or early fall, says Dana Cronkhite, the county’s economic development director.
The Virginia Department of Energy announced in January that the county’s Industrial Development Authority will receive $869,584 from the federal Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) program to establish the Red Onion Industrial Park. The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority has contributed about $3 million toward the project since 2013. The Appalachian Regional Commission also allocated $500,000 in 2020.
Many Virginia counties are taking steps to prep industrial properties to lure businesses that want to build quickly.
Due to its hilly topography, Dickenson County has limited property that can be swiftly developed for industry. “The flat land around here is either on top of a ridge somewhere that God made or was made through mining,” explains Freddie Mullins, the IDA’s attorney.
The industrial park property, which the authority acquired in 2014 for $99,410, is about 100 acres; however, a lot of that land is hillside, Cronkhite notes. Developers plan to grade three pads of 15, 10 and 5 acres each on property that’s suitably level.
Construction will include building on-site access roads and structures to control stormwater and sediment, and installing redundant broadband fiber so if one provider has an outage, data can continue flowing.
The industrial park should be build-ready by April 2024, Cronkhite anticipates, and the site’s planners think the park could be a fit for businesses ranging from data centers to solar farms.
No matter what type of business comes, Cronkhite points out, “it’s going to be smaller industry because the pads are not ginormous.” (By comparison, Pittsylvania County’s Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill has a 200-acre graded pad.)
Across the street from the industrial park, construction on the Wildwood Recovery Center — a residential addiction recovery facility that’s a joint project between Dickenson’s IDA and Kentucky-based Addiction Recovery Care — should be finished around the same time as Red Onion, according to Cronkhite.
The county would like to develop workforce training for the center’s graduates in hopes that they can work at the businesses that build facilities at Red Onion, Cronkhite says. “We’re going to have a workforce across the road, literally.”