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Alliance: Rail access big weakness

Ready access to rail service is one of Pulaski’s biggest weaknesses when it comes to economic development, according to the head of New River Valley Alliance.
Executive Director Aric Bopp said having the railroad pass through Pulaski County and the Town of Pulaski is a positive for economic development. However, the fact that there are no side rails to bring the service to the area’s primary industrial parks is a disadvantage.
“Rail lines pass through (Pulaski County and the town), but it’s like having an interstate passing through with no exits,” Bopp told members of Pulaski Town Council earlier this week. “The more you can tap into (rail service), the more success you’ll experience,” he added.
Bopp was responding to Mayor Jeff Worrell’s question as to the area’s weaknesses in terms of economic development.
Worrell asked Bopp if he is right in assessing that it is “getting a lot tougher” to broker deals with industries. He said localities used to be able to agree to provide certain services and benefits if a business agreed to locate there. Now, he noted, industries seem to want localities to provide services without any commitment.
The mayor said it seems the cost per job is getting so high it’s hard for communities to afford the incentives to attract economic development.
Bopp agreed with Worrell that it is getting tougher to attract large industry because there is so much competition now. He noted that 60 to 80 percent of prospects are looking for an existing building and there are a lot of really beautiful buildings” on the market throughout the nation right now.
Asked about the future of the Commerce Park off Route 100 near the New River Valley Airport, Bopp said he isn’t sure the future of the park has been established at this point, “but it would be short-sighted to give up on it now.”
The initial plan for the 10-year-old park was to bring in one massive industry with a large number of jobs.
“I think we’ve all accepted the fact we’re not going to land one big project” under existing market conditions, Bopp told council members.
One prospect for the park’s future is developing it into a nanotechnology park consisting of multiple nanotechnology related businesses.

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Alliance: Rail access big weakness

Ready access to rail service is one of Pulaski’s biggest weaknesses when it comes to economic development, according to the head of New River Valley Alliance.
Executive Director Aric Bopp said having the railroad pass through Pulaski County and the Town of Pulaski is a positive for economic development. However, the fact that there are no side rails to bring the service to the area’s primary industrial parks is a disadvantage.
“Rail lines pass through (Pulaski County and the town), but it’s like having an interstate passing through with no exits,” Bopp told members of Pulaski Town Council earlier this week. “The more you can tap into (rail service), the more success you’ll experience,” he added.
Bopp was responding to Mayor Jeff Worrell’s question as to the area’s weaknesses in terms of economic development.
Worrell asked Bopp if he is right in assessing that it is “getting a lot tougher” to broker deals with industries. He said localities used to be able to agree to provide certain services and benefits if a business agreed to locate there. Now, he noted, industries seem to want localities to provide services without any commitment.
The mayor said it seems the cost per job is getting so high it’s hard for communities to afford the incentives to attract economic development.
Bopp agreed with Worrell that it is getting tougher to attract large industry because there is so much competition now. He noted that 60 to 80 percent of prospects are looking for an existing building and there are a lot of really beautiful buildings” on the market throughout the nation right now.
Asked about the future of the Commerce Park off Route 100 near the New River Valley Airport, Bopp said he isn’t sure the future of the park has been established at this point, “but it would be short-sighted to give up on it now.”
The initial plan for the 10-year-old park was to bring in one massive industry with a large number of jobs.
“I think we’ve all accepted the fact we’re not going to land one big project” under existing market conditions, Bopp told council members.
One prospect for the park’s future is developing it into a nanotechnology park consisting of multiple nanotechnology related businesses.

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