PULASKI, Va. – The face of Pulaski County is changing.
After Volvo’s historic announcement Friday that included nearly 800 new jobs coming to Dublin, local leaders are preparing for thousands of people to move there in the next few years.
They’re trying to attract a new wave of workers.
Ongoing construction is visible in downtown Pulaski, where storefronts are expected to be spruced up and new apartments are expected to cater to young adults.
County leaders like administrator Jonathan Sweet are ramping up plans for housing, road improvements, recreation, shopping centers and more.
“We’re positioning ourselves to take full advantage of Pulaski County’s economic development success,” Sweet said.
He thinks the population will reach a total of 40,000 by the year 2030.
“That’s 5,000 more folks sharing the tax burden, 5,000 more folks plugged into our workforce, plugged into our economy, creating a healthy local ecosystem,” Sweet said.
Nearly $250 million worth of residential development is in the works, which would mean about 1,300 new units.
“Making sure that folks understand what the opportunities are, not just to work here, not just to play here, but to live here,” Sweet said.
Nearly 500 of the units will be located behind where construction crews are working on a new, $50 million middle school off Route 11.
Sweet says developers believe Pulaski County is a growing market, and they want to build new communities there.
“This is one of the gems of the New River Valley, one of the gems of southwest Virginia,” Sweet said.
The county is also looking at road improvements to increase both safety and traffic flow by anticipating where industrial and residential areas will be.
Sweet said in terms of utilities, law enforcement and public resources like libraries, the county is ready to handle more residents.
He feels the county’s leadership understands how to plan for growth and the area can position itself to expand even more in the future.
Pulaski County’s unemployment rate stands at 2.9%.
Economic development experts in the New River Valley tell us new Volvo workers will be moving to locations all over the area.
10 News asked Volvo where its current 3,500 employees live. A spokesperson said nearly a third of them live in Pulaski County. 14% are in Wythe County. 9% are in Montgomery, and Giles, Carroll, and Radford city all have around 8%.
Employees also commute from areas in West Virginia and North Carolina.