AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7)-- The clock is ticking for the Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights.
An overhead look at the Central Virginia Training Center from Air7.
The state-run facility for people living with disabilities is set to close this July. Regional leaders are now working to make sure the 350-acre site is used to its highest potential and does not turn into 350 acres of blight.
"How we prepare for its next life and what it is going to look like," said Victoria Hanson, Economic Development Director for Amherst County. "We know we have taken a massive hit in Amherst County and in the region."
According to Hanson, the CVTC had an $87-million regional economic impact. She said it is not just an important piece of property for the county, but for the Central Virginia region.
"That could open up a lot of possibilities for our region," said Jamie Glass with the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. Glass added that the CVTC is a major regional asset and one of their top priorities this year.
The alliance has been working alongside the county and the Central Virginia Planning District Commission to secure funding for a redevelopment plan of the site.
"To make sure that we move it forward and make sure that what follows the training center is something really great for the region," said Glass.
The land for the CVTC is owned by the state, meaning the alliance and the county cannot control who buys the land. However, they have been working closely with the state and are taking steps to identify the best use for the land.
The LRBA was just awarded a $100,000 GO Virginia grant. That, coupled with funding from Amherst County, the economic development authority and the CVPDC, will help pay for an outside company to create a redevelopment plan for the CVTC.
According to Glass, the training center is a complicated project. The property dates back more than 100 years and there are 98 buildings on the site. The local leaders are not sure what the best use for the land actually is, but the redevelopment plan will help determine what needs to happen to maximize potential.
"Then you can just shop this beautiful development to, hopefully, quality developers who have the money and the funding to enact it," said Hanson.
As the state continues to plan for the closure of the property, Hanson said that it is their job to think ahead.
The alliance is still seeking $150,000 to pay for the $500,000 redevelopment plan. They are hoping to secure the funding by the end of the year.
"We need to be proactive in what happens to this incredibly well-positioned piece of land," said Hanson. "There are four-lane highways on three sides of it with the river, directly across from downtown Lynchburg. It makes sense that we invest in this."
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