January 2, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Generating work for local companies and businesses with the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre grading project is the goal of a “meet and greet” event to be held later this month.
The event will be held at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in the lobby of the Henry County Administration Building, according to Tim Hall, deputy county administrator. It will be sponsored by Henry County and the Martinsville Henry County Economic Development Corp.
The event will give local vendors, contractors and other service providers a chance to be involved in the $16.5 million grading project at Commonwealth Crossing along the North Carolina line.
“We are trying to be the matchmaker between the general contractors and our local businesses,” County Administrator Benny Summerlin said. “A project of this size needs subcontractors for fuel, landscaping, gravel and utilities.”
The 11 pre-qualified contractors and/or their representatives will meet with local companies interested in working on or otherwise being a part of the project, according to Hall and Tim Pace, director of engineering.
“This is a great way for our local businesses to get their feet in the door on this project,” Mark Heath, president and CEO of the EDC said. “We want the general contractors to realize the level of talent and services that this community can provide.”
Pace and Hall said the reason outside contractors were sought was because no local company had the resources needed to undertake what Hall referred to as “a massive, massive project.”
The county pre-qualified subcontractors because of the scope of the project, and all are outside the immediate region, Pace said.
“The closest one to us is in Gretna,” a couple are from Charlotte, N.C., and one is based in Maine and has an office in Fairfax, Pace said.
“We have always been committed to getting local companies involved” in any way possible, Hall added.
Besides companies such as gravel and fuel haulers, Hall said support businesses such as restaurants and hotels also are invited to participate in the event.
Restaurants, for instance, may want to offer coupons to entice workers to patronize their businesses, Hall said, speculating that workers from outside will stay in area hotels.
“There will be opportunities for restaurants, hotels and motels and campgrounds to reach out to these general contractors and become a service provider for them” while work is underway at the Commonwealth Crossing, Summerlin said.
“Any local relationship we can foster” between the pre-qualified general contractors and local companies “is way to generate revenues for local businesses and keep the revenues here,” Hall said.
The project to grade an estimated 200-acres pad is expected to take two years, Pace said. It will involve “moving just shy of 5 million yards of dirt, building an industrial access road” that is about a mile long, and installing sewer lines for storm water runoff and to process waste.
Bids from the pre-qualified general contractors will be opened at 3 p.m. on Feb. 14 and awarded at the Feb. 28 Henry County Board of Supervisors meeting, Hall said.
“We are hopeful we can start actual work sometime in March,” Pace said. “That is our optimistic goal.”
He encouraged local businesses to participate in the Jan. 10 “meet and greet” by “coming out, introducing themselves, giving out a business card” or brochures to the general contractors “and explaining the types of services they can provide,” Pace said.
Pre-registration is not required, Hall said.
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