Hanover County took a step forward last week to make sure one of the largest developments in the county doesn’t sink like the bait weights sold at its anchor store.
Supervisors voted in favor of a bond restructuring deal for the Lewistown Community Development Authority and also lowered property assessments, an effort to lure commercial growth with cheap land located next to a major interstate.
The CDA governs the 185-acre area known as Winding Brook and anchored by Bass Pro Shops. The area has seen a smattering of restaurants and a hotel but nothing near the volume of growth that would have helped it stay solvent.
Winding Brook was really a case of bad timing.
Bonds for the development were issued right as the floor fell out of our nation’s economic system, a crisis we’re still recovering from. Businesses weren’t hiring; they definitely weren’t expanding and building new locations.
Last week’s action should help the original plan come to fruition.
The lone vote against the deal came from Chairman and Henry District Supervisor Sean Davis, who claimed the CDA was faulty from the beginning and that government intervention got in the way of free market solutions.
Davis’s comments raise some good points. Many would argue that it really shouldn’t be government’s job to determine the success or failure of a private-sector venture.
Had this been your run-of-the-mill development, we would agree. But a CDA is a different animal all together, a sort of private-public partnership.
Increased tax revenues from the district are paid back to the CDA by the county to help pay down the bonds issued to help build infrastructure improvements, which in turn draw economic prospects. That’s the idea, anyway.
In this case, Hanover County was too involved to cut bait. But who knows, the action could result in landing our next big fish.