Isle of Wight can expect more growth

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bob Crum’s message to Isle of Wight at the State of the County Breakfast on Tuesday was direct:

“Growth is coming this way.”

Crum, who is the executive director of Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, was the guest speaker at the annual event, this year taking place in the Smithfield Center.

The HRPDC includes 17 localities and 1.7 million people and, he said, “We think that our region is a sleeping giant.”

Program areas that the agency are concerned with include economics, education, information, water resources, legislative affairs and transportation, the latter of which Crum is also familiar, having been involved with guiding the restructuring of the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

Isle of Wight, he noted, has a population of approximately 36,107 people living in 316 square miles, and 114 people per square mile. The county has seen a 112 percent increase in population since 1960, and 12.4 percent just within the past decade.

Manufacturing, not incidentally, is strongest in what Crum referred to as west southside, which also includes Suffolk, Franklin and Southampton.

Every four years, forecasts are done by the HRPDC, and projects that by 2040, the population for the aforementioned area will go from the 344,289 to 533,534.

It was here that he made his prediction of growth making its way in Isle of Wight County.

Earlier, a short video presentation included Supervisor Chairman Rex Alphin, department heads such as Economic Director Tom Elder and Windsor Town Manager Michael Stallings talking briefly about how their respective territories have progressed in the past year, and what they foresee in the 12 months ahead.

Alphin said the past year has been one of transition, such as seeking a new county administrator, and welcoming three new supervisors to the board. He anticipates the budget will be balanced next fiscal year, which has been done through cutting expenses and increasing revenues.

Elder said his department will become more aggressive in business outreach, trade shows and conferences.

Stallings noted that Windsor has established new signs welcoming visitors, enabled the creation of a mural depicting town history on the sides of a building, and set up the police department in its own building, which includes a live video camera to the magistrate in order to more quickly process suspects. Girl scouts The locality is also in the beginning phase of making a master plan for a new municipal center, which could include a library.

Old Point National Bank and Sentara Healthcare were Industry level sponsors, and Riverside Health System was an Enterprise level sponsor.