At a Crossroads
Written by Tammy Purcell, CorrespondentWednesday, 02 February 2011 13:15 - Last Updated Wednesday, 02 February 2011 13:18
Over the last two years, a variety of establishments have opened in the area’s shopping centersand business parks including Walmart, IHOP, UVA Credit Union, a dentist office, medicalpractice and animal hospital, among others. The businesses provide shopping, dining andmuch-needed services, local officials said. For its part, Fluvanna County has been reluctant to fund infrastructure at Zion, leading to muchslower growth. Its side of the crossroads is primarily home to semi-industrial businesses and afew retailers. Better Living Building Supplies, Cabinets by Design, Van der linde Recycling andBlue Ridge Mountain Sports corporate headquarters and warehouse all opened aroundFluvanna’s slice of the Rt. 250 corridor over the last several years.
Big box stores
Still, such development can’t compete with big box store revenues. From Nov. 1, 2009 to Oct.31, 2010, Walmart and Lowe’s contributed $776,651.17 in sales tax to Louisa County. Forfiscal year 2010, Fluvanna collected just over $1 million in sales tax from the county as a whole.According to Virginia Department of Taxation figures, made available via UVA’s Weldon CooperCenter for Public Policy, Fluvanna collected nearly $97,500 in sales tax revenue in September2010 while Louisa garnered over $245,000. Walmart and Lowe’s contributed almost $68,000per Louisa County’s figures. Specific revenue data for the Zion growth area was notimmediately available from Fluvanna County, which currently lacks an economic developmentdirector. “I can only speculate [about Fluvanna’s approach to Zion]. Some people may feel that[investing in infrastructure] will increase sprawl. Some people don’t want growth,” Barnes saidof the divergent development patterns along the county line. “When you make these kinds ofinvestments, you have to believe what you are doing will benefit the population. We’ve seen theresults in Louisa.” Some Fluvanna officials have seen those results too and believe it’s time the county joins thecrossroads’ business boom. Investing in infrastructure at Zion, they claim, is crucial to pullingthe county out of its near crippling fiscal constraints—Fluvanna faces mounting debt, much of itassociated with the construction of its new high school, about a million dollars in annualoperating expenses once the school opens, a significant overhaul of its emergencycommunication system and other issues that could further cloud its financial picture. “[Zion is] definitely our primary target for economic development…it’s a not a panacea. It’s not
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