Governor McDonnell and Lieutenant Governor Bolling Announce Establishment of Southern Virginia Regional Alliance
– Six Southern Virginia localities to promote regional economic development and job creation –
DANVILLE – On behalf of Governor Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today announced the establishment of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA), a regional marketing partnership between the cities of Danville and Martinsville, and the counties of Halifax, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania, created to more effectively promote the assets of the six participating localities.
Lieutenant Governor Bolling was joined by representatives from the six localities, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and the Administration to launch the partnership at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
Speaking about today's announcement, Governor McDonnell said, "This is exactly the kind of proactive and cooperative effort that is so crucial to facilitating economic growth and private sector job creation. We face a tough and competitive global economy. We are competing daily against China, Singapore and India. We can't undermine our collective effort as a Commonwealth by inadvertently competing against each other at the same time. Regions must work together to bring good work opportunities to our citizens. That is what the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance will do. This partnership will maximize the tremendous resources found in each Southern Virginia locality, and make the region an even more attractive location for new employers. This Alliance will get results, and the result will be new good-paying jobs for Southern Virginia."
Lieutenant Governor Bolling commented, "Experience has taught us that our economic development efforts are more successful when regions of the state work together, rather than compete with each other. Last year, Governor McDonnell and I forged a partnership with these localities that encouraged them to work together to promote their region as a great place for business. They accepted our challenge and they have more than risen to the occasion. I really do believe that these localities have done more in the past year to forge a working economic development partnership than any other region of the state, and I am confident that their cooperation will produce positive results. I'm just pleased that we were able to play a role in helping put this partnership together, and I look forward to working with them to bring more jobs to Southern Virginia."
Joining together as the SVRA, local economic development directors will partner to develop a unified marketing campaign, promote the region's assets and identify key industry sectors that align well with the communities strengths to attract new business, industry and jobs to the region.
The SVRA hosted a dozen CEOs and site selection executives from around the country in October at Primland in Patrick County. The group had the opportunity to discuss regional economic development assets, tour the region and attend a race at Martinsville Speedway.
The SVRA is currently in the process of selecting an executive director and has plans for a website and other marketing tools.
Sherman Saunders, Mayor of the City of Danville, stated, "The Southern Virginia Regional Alliance will give us the opportunity to combine all of our individual strengths, enhancing our ability to attract quality economic development projects. I look forward to working with our regional and state economic development partners, as we move ahead and commit to a strategic and united message – Southern Virginia is ready to bring new job creation and increased capital investment to the region."
Mike Sexton, Executive Director of the Halifax Industrial Development Authority, said, "We applaud the forward thinking of the administration and their efforts to bring Southern Virginia together. Having a single point of contact will improve our efforts to bring quality employers and investment to the region."
"The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (MHCEDC) understands the importance of regional marketing to the consulting and corporate world," says Amy Lampe, Chairman of the MHCEDC. "So, we are happy to underwrite our community's share of the cost of this important initiative, which will align Southern Virginia with the rest of Virginia and most states method of marketing economic development by regions."
Tom Rose, Patrick County Administrator stated, "Patrick County is excited to be a partner in the newly formed Southern Virginia Regional Alliance that will be able to offer a dynamic and growing market for locating and expanding firms in order to bring more jobs to the entire region."
"This is a big step forward for this area and regional cooperation," commented Tim Barber, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
To help launch the effort, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership will provide $200,000 over two years that will be matched by the six participating localities and the Tobacco Commission. As a result, SRVA has secured $600,000 to develop an economic development marketing plan to aggressively promote the region.
Senator Frank Ruff (R-Mecklenburg), Vice Chairman of the Tobacco Commission, stated, "The Tobacco Commission is glad to be part of this regional effort. We believe that the assets of each community can have greater impact working together. We cannot expect individual cities and counties to compete if we hope to be part of the international economy. To be a player in today's economy, we must work in tandem with neighboring communities."
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