Amherst County plans to contribute an additional $15,000 toward the ongoing effort to market and redevelop the Central Virginia Training Center property in Madison Heights.
County Administrator Dean Rodgers said the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance is working to raise a remaining $100,000 for a redevelopment plan for the roughly 350-acre site. The state-run campus that served people with disabilities and medical issues relocated its final resident in April 2020 and area officials are working to find a new use for the property on Colony Road close to the James River.
Rodgers said the business alliance is getting money from GO Virginia’s governing board. The redevelopment plan effort previously had received $50,000 each from the Amherst County Board of Supervisors and Amherst County Economic Development Authority and the Central Virginia Planning District Commission also gave $150,000.
Rodgers said $15,000 in added funds has been found in a line item of the county’s budget to help the alliance “chop away” at the remaining $100,000.
The business alliance and Lynchburg-area officials want the site successfully redeveloped to bring jobs and economic activity back into the region. HDR, Inc., a Nebraska firm working on a master plan for future redevelopment, in late 2020 traveled to Amherst County to visit the site and conduct a series of public input sessions in downtown Lynchburg on potential future uses.
During those sessions numerous ideas and thoughts for the property — including a mix of housing, business and office space uses with amenities — were discussed.
Future uses for the CVTC site is envisioned to connect directly to Lynchburg’s urban hub and spur economic activity as opposed to leaving a ghost town of more than 90 unused buildings that are prone to blight and crime, local officials have said.
At its peak, CVTC employed 1,600 people and was an economic engine for Amherst County and the region, and its closure left a massive void in jobs area officials and business leaders are hopeful to recover. The loss of the county’s one-time largest employer was a major contributing factor to the overall population in Amherst dropping by roughly 1,050 in the past 10 years, as reflected in the recently updated U.S. census, Rodgers has said.