Southside Officials Hope to Get Berry Hill Mega Park Off the Ground

Danville, VA - Economic Development Director Jeremy Stratton believes the potential for thousands of jobs is resting on this land, but bringing the Berry Hill Mega Park to life has been a struggle.

"A lot of it is out of our hands, and so if we have anything that the federal government does that prohibits us from bringing jobs here it gets more frustrating, " said Economic Development Director Jeremy Stratton.
The Regional Industrial Facility Authority is a group of city officials and Pittsylvania County Supervisors who have come together to manage the 3,500 acre site.
They've worked hard to meet the Corps of Engineers's standards, but recently the Corps said without an intended user for land, development can't move forward - which makes marketing very difficult.
"The regulatory agencies want to see a company committed to the site before they agree to grant a permit, " Stratton said.
And the Corps is concerned about the potential environmental and historical impact in the area.
"The area in Berry Hill is a historical area - it's a lot of old homeplaces and sharecropper buildings - not on the site that we're grading though, " said Public Works Director Richard Drazenovich.
Other localities have faced similar red tape when trying to develop an industrial park.
When Henry County encountered steep federal regulations with the Commonwealth Crossing Business Center, Congressman Robert Hurt and others stepped in and proposed legislation to try to keep this sort of thing from happening.
"It'll be interesting to see how they work on that, but we're trying right now to work with our consultants to see if we can reach a good solution and compromise, " Stratton said.Officials say the Corps recommended a market study to identify potential industries for the site.They're hoping that will be their path to a permit.
Officials expect to have an answer some time next year.