On April 9, 2019 Kevin Byrd, executive director of the New River Valley Regional Commission, provided testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. The hearing was titled, “Building prosperity: The Economic Development Administration’s Role in Economic Development and Recovery.” In his testimony, Mr. Byrd conveyed the valuable role U.S. EDA investments have played in the New River Valley.
The U.S. EDA invested $600,000 in phase one of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in the late 1980’s and made a $2.0 million investment in 2009 to support a second phase of development. Today, the Corporate Research Center is comprised of over 180 private high-technology companies and employs more than 3,000 people.
Additionally, the US EDA invested in the NRV Commerce Park, a 1,000-acre industrial park located in Pulaski County jointly owned by 11 local governments. A $3.0 million investment from EDA, along with local matching dollars, has allowed for water line construction, pump station upgrades, and other infrastructure ultimately making one million gallons of water per day available to the site. The first tenant of the park is Red Sun Farms which employs over 100 people and has made nearly $23.0 million capital investments at the Commerce Park location.
The U.S. EDA not only makes strategic investments through competitive grant programs that leads directly to job creation, but the agency also provides planning funds for regions such as the New River Valley that are designated Economic Development Districts. “The EDA planning program help regions determine their regional and local priorities to ensure job creation opportunities exist. The EDA investments in the region would not be possible without a well-crafted and informed Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy document supported by the EDA.” To learn more about the New River Valley Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the top 10 priorities for the region, please visit www.nrvrc.org/economyeconomy
More information about the hearing and video can be found at this link, https://transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/building-prosperity-edas-role-in-economic-development-and-recovery
Mr. Byrd’s participation in the hearing was supported by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) which he currently serves as the First Vice President.