Martinsville Council commits $1 million to college development

February 2, 2005

By Matt Hankins

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - The Martinsville City Council is putting a significant local contribution toward a proposed new state college initiative.

Meeting in a special called session Tuesday, Feb. 1, the Martinsville Council voted unanimously to commit $1 million over the next ten years to develop infrastructure to support a new college.

"The City of Martinsville has many needs that it must attend to for its residents, but establishing a state baccalaureate degree-granting college is of paramount and overriding importance to the wellbeing of our citizens, the rebirth of our economy and the cohesive progress of the Southside region," said Council's resolution.

"The Council does hereby pledge to the Commonwealth the sum of $1 million over the next ten years, whether in direct cash contribution or through in-kind services, to fund infrastructure improvements necessary to the establishment of a four-year, residential, baccalaureate degree-granting college in Martinsville or Henry County by 2007," said the resolution.

The city will commit to providing infrastructure improvements, whether through paying contractors or using city labor, expertise, real property and capital to pave for parking, construct curb, gutter and drainage, install electricity or telecommunications lines, renovate structures, connect to water & sewer service or meet any other infrastructural need.

"This is a critical need for Southside Virginia," said Mayor Joseph R. Cobbe. "Students from here have to travel long distances for bachelor's degrees that others around the Commonwealth do not. Unequal access to higher educational opportunity is unacceptable in today's economic climate."

Mayor Cobbe, Vice-Mayor Kimble Reynolds, City Manager R.R. "Dan" Collins and Communications Manager Matthew C. Hankins will present the initiative to state government leaders Friday morning at the state capital.

City officials are still working to determine a funding formula that pays for the extra $100,000 expense in each of the next ten years. The contribution may be paid for from year-end fund balances or sources to be determined.


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