Last updated: August 13. 2014 4:28PM - 773 Views
By - aworrell@civitasmedia.com

Photo by Larry ChambersBarry Hicks of Hillsville has been elected chairman of the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority.
Photo by Larry ChambersBarry Hicks of Hillsville has been elected chairman of the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority.
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Barry Hicks has been elected chairman of the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) after the death of former Chairman Richard Slate Sr. on July 12.

Hicks, who resides in Hillsville with his wife Patricia, has been a very involved member of the IDA since his appointment to the Authority in 2005. He was nominated by Larry Chambers during the IDA meeting held Aug. 5 and approved by a unanimous vote. Hicks said he has extremely big shoes to try to fill in Slate, who worked tirelessly for the IDA as chairmen for more than 20 years.

“It is a great loss to the county. Richard was so instrumental in economic development. His mind was always working on it even right up to his passing,” Hicks said. “It’s going to be a seat to fill, no doubt about it because Richard did a tremendous job. But we will do our best to continue his work as we try to bring more jobs to the county.”

To ensure that happens, Hicks said the IDA will continue working with the Carroll County Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Gary Larrowe. The IDA has been extremely active recently, Hicks noted, including the purchase of two buildings in the Carroll County Industrial Park – the old Gildan Building and the old Sara Lee Building.

New business Creative Creations is now in the old Gildan Building and has approximately 30 employees. The new business continues to grow, Hicks said, while Virginia Produce is now in the old Sara Lee Building with approximately 50-60 employees and continues to thrive. The IDA also recently purchased the old Parkdale Building in the Industrial Park, which helped successfully bring in Vanguard Furniture, along with approximately 200 new jobs to the county.

Other projects Hicks listed that the Carroll County IDA has worked on recently include:

- establishing a natural gas line in the county, which kept 154 jobs at Mohawk

- the new renovations at Carroll County High School and Carroll County Middle School

- the new STEM Lab and the HVAC system at CCHS

- the old Woodlawn School, which the IDA hopes to develop in the same manner

“Working with BRCEDA (Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority), the IDA hopes to be an integral part of the development of Wildwood Park,” Hicks said. “For the future, we are working with prospects for the last available building at the Carroll County Industrial Park, which, if successful, will be the first time it will be at 100 percent capacity.”

After the election of Chairman Hicks on Aug. 5, the IDA visited the following projects:

- The new STEM Lab for Agriculture at Carroll County High School. Instructor Randy Webb conducted the tour and pointed out all the new technology now available to students because of the new lab. Webb also presented the IDA an honorary chapter member award for all their help making the projects possible. Clark Bros., Inc., a construction company based in Stuart, constructed the lab at a cost of approximately $359,500. The group also visited the classroom of Richard Slate Jr., the son of the late IDA chairman and a teacher at Carroll County, who talked about upcoming projects he planned as a joint effort with Webb.

- The tour also included a stop at the now-closed Woodlawn School. The Carroll County Board of Supervisors recently transferred the school to the IDA.

- Another stop was to the Vanguard Furniture building that is being renovated in the Carroll County Industrial Park. Vanguard announced plans last month to open an upscale furniture manufacturing plant in the 116,000 square foot building acquired from Parkdale Knitting by the IDA. Plans are for the plant to be in production by early September with a workforce expected to reach 200 over the next five years when in full production.

- The group also visited Wildwood Commerce Park at Exit 19 on Interstate 77. The access road has been completed to the project and water and sewer is now available. Construction of a four-lane project on Coulson Church Road at the entrance of the park is still underway.

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