Distribution center gets a start

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2008

Even the biggest of plans start with small steps, and the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors took those necessary baby steps earlier this week.

The big plan is to build an enormous distribution center near Windsor to redirect the thousands of containers that carry tons of imported goods through the Port of Virginia.

Supervisors instructed the county staff to form a committee of county planners, elected officials and town of Windsor officials to study the first phase of the project.

That project, proponents project, may take 20 to 25 years to complete, but could employ 20,000 people on the 3,000-acre site, becoming the industrial jewel of the east.

It would include a cluster of warehouses, and would utilize access to Route 58, the CSX Rail Line and the Norfolk Southern mainline. A key part of the plan is construction of a new Route 460 bypass around town that will provide access to interstate highways.

County planners, working with designers and developers, looking at the land surrounding Windsor — which is mostly agricultural and timber land — see a window of opportunity.

Some locality close to the world-class port, the thinking goes, will want to build such a center. So why not Isle of Wight?

Why not, indeed. The center could be an economic boost never seen in these parts.

And the logic behind it is sound: Trains and trucks will head west from the port anyway, so make Windsor their first stop.

The project, to be sure, will need millions of dollars to reach its potential.

But a serious look at the landscape-changing proposal is the right first step.