The U. S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced that the Crater Planning District Commission will receive a $70,000 economic development grant award to be matched with $30,000 in Commission funds, to enable the Commission to continue important economic development initiatives in the region.
The Planning District is designated as an Economic Development District. It’s current 2020 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) identifies five focus areas that will strengthen the District’s economic base: Technology Expansion, Workforce Development, Small Business Growth, Infrastructure Improvements and GO Virginia projects.
Commission efforts are focused on major initiatives that have come out of the CEDS planning process.
Through the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Logistics Systems (CCALS), there is a collaboration among Fort Lee (Logistics Capital of the Army), five Virginia universities, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Port of Virginia, focused upon capitalizing on the region’s excellent location, transportation network, proximity to the Port of Virginia, logistics expertise in the universities and talent at Fort Lee to position this region for growth in logistics.
Advanced Manufacturing/Workforce Development
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) has a workforce development component that will grow to be the Advanced Manufacturing Academy to prepare workers for jobs in 21st century advanced manufacturing companies. The Academy will also provide for the upskilling of incumbent workers who are seeking career advancement. CCAM is an applied research center that provides production-ready advanced manufacturing solutions to member companies across the globe. CCAM is located in Prince George County.
The PDC continues to administer Petersburg Area Regional Tourism (PART), as well as support other jurisdictions pursuing initiatives to grow tourism. According to the latest U. S. Travel Association (USTA) tourism survey results, visitor expenditures in the Crater District totaled $466 million and $395 million in the PART region. Local governments in the Planning District received $32 million in local tax revenues from tourism and 4,400 jobs in the region are associated with tourism. Thus, tourism spending in the region is a growing important contributor to the region’s economy.
There are several key infrastructure projects under way throughout the Crater region that will have a positive impact upon new business growth both short term as well as long term. Such projects include the following areas of activity: broadband, transportation, water and wastewater improvements, business site development and a “museum enclave” on Fort Lee.