Southside localities hope to come together to help region's economy by helping VIR

Regional Industrial Facility Authority could be created

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - The annual Hyperfest event is one of many that help VIR generate around $200 million a year for Southside's economy.

While the track's economic impact is growing, track CEO Connie Nyholm says there are some major challenges to continuing that growth.

"We've always struggled with two main things. That's utilities and road networks," Nyholm said. "We've got one way in and one way out, so that's hard when you have the great big crowds, but I've never really had the appetite to fight for a bridge right now. I'm more concerned about water."

Some of the wells that supply water to the track don't work, meaning the track's water supply may not always be enough for big events.

The ideal solution is to spend an estimated $4 million to run a water line from water towers in the Ringgold area of Pittsylvania County out to the track.

Danville City Manager Ken Larking says a Regional Industrial Facility Authority is needed in order for the localities to benefit from building the line.

"The cost to install a water line would be well above what we could ever recoup in the sale of water, so it has to be more than that. There needs to be some sort of tax revenue arrangement," Larking explained.

At next week's Danville City Council meeting, council members could vote to give Larking permission to try to negotiate the terms of a RIFA with VIR and Pittsylvania and Halifax County.

"When visitors go to VIR, they stay at hotels (in Danville), they spend money at restaurants. We don't want to see VIR not have the ability to have races," Larking said.

Nyholm is ready to help.

"I'll be at the table as they ask me to be," Nyholm said.

Larking says a RIFA would likely take at least a couple of months to set up.

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