Economic Development in Altavista
Altavista is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, services, transportation and workforce skills to support economic development well into the future. Industries are attracted by our high quality of life, low taxes, low utility rates, and the dedication and work ethic of our labor force. Altavista also offers a major highway (US 29) linking it with Greensboro, NC, in the south and Washington, DC, in the north. Plus, we have two rail lines operated by Norfolk Southern.
Economically, Altavista continues to grow and develop as an employment, commerce, and personal and professional service center in Central Virginia. The Town leaders recognize the importance of the balance between industrial, commercial, and professional services, thus providing stability and a healthy economy.
Altavista’s economic base, in the past, has been dominated by manufacturing with emphasis on furniture (Lane), textiles (Burlington), and others such as Abbott Ross Laboratories, and Timken. Despite various challenges, manufacturing employment in Altavista has gradually increased since 2009 as a result of a strategic recruitment plan. Local and regional economic development efforts have been successful in attracting new, small manufacturers that renovated and adapted older vacant manufacturing facilities to meet their needs. In addition, our long-time employers have expanded their local operations and employment, demonstrating that Altavista continues to be a good place to live and invest.
The town is now focusing efforts on diversification of its base beyond just manufacturing to achieve a more sustainable economic development plan. Ideal prospects include:
- Reservations and telemarketing centers
- Software developers
- Back-office processing centers for credit card companies
- Online purchasing warehousing
- Parts and raw materials suppliers for existing industries
- Industries that can take advantage of our natural resources, e.g. soft drink bottlers
Altavista is positioned on the banks of the Staunton (Roanoke) River, and is contained entirely within the river's basin. As such, the Town’s water treatment facility is located along the Staunton River in the neighboring Town of Hurt. This 3.0 million gallon per day (MGD) treatment facility uses the Staunton River as its primary source. In addition, Reed Creek is a secondary source used by the treatment plant when necessary. Both of these sources provide the Town with excellent drinking water, at rates that are among the lowest in the Commonwealth. The Town also has two (2) spring sources – McMinnis Spring, located in Pittsylvania County, and Reynolds Spring in Campbell County – that augment the raw water supply.
The Town also makes a bulk water purchase each day from the Campbell County Otter River Water Treatment Plant. This intergovernmental partnership resulted in the County installing water lines down into Altavista’s water distribution system at the north end of town, thereby improving the infrastructure and potential for possible economic development in that area. The Town’s water system enhancements demonstrate a significant investment in this valuable resource and the Town’s commitment to providing a safe, reliable water supply that is both cost-competitive and serves as an attraction and potential tool for economic development.
The wastewater treatment system in the Town of Altavista centers on a 3.6 MGD sewage treatment plant. The Town’s wastewater treatment facility is an extended aeration/activated sludge system. Sludge is disposed of in the Campbell County landfill. In addition to the wastewater treatment plant, the sanitary sewer system utilizes two (2) 2.0 MGD pump stations. Lastly, sewer collection lines ranging in size from 6 inches to 36 inches serve most of the Town.
The wastewater treatment facility provides an essential service not only to the businesses, industries, and residents of Altavista, but to the Campbell County Industrial Park located just outside of town, and a small portion of the Town of Hurt in Pittsylvania County as well. In addition to contributing significantly to the overall health and safety of the community, the Town’s wastewater treatment system provides the Town with a strong foundation for economic growth and expansion.
Solid waste collection service is provided to all residences, schools, and appropriate businesses located within the Altavista town limits. Most businesses are provided dumpster service, but some businesses and all industries must contract with private haulers for their own solid waste collection and disposal services. The Town pays for its solid waste collection and disposal operating expenditures out of its General Fund tax revenues. Altavista businesses pay no additional sanitation fees for the refuse services the Town provides; however, the Campbell County Landfill, where the Town daily disposes of its refuse, charges businesses a landfill use fee.
Altavista businesses and industries receive other utility services from private companies to which the Town has granted franchises:
- Electric Service – Dominion Virginia Power Company, headquartered in Richmond, provides electric service. Two (2) transmission lines pass through the Town and serve the community through a local substation. The Appalachian Power Company (APCO) owns a portion of the same right-of-way.
- Natural Gas Service - The Columbia Gas Company of Virginia, Inc. provides gas to residential and commercial customers in certain areas of town.
- Telecommunications – Local telephone service is provided by Embarq. This includes fiber optic and switching capability. Wireless telephone service can be purchased through several digital and analog providers.
- Television/Satellite - Cable Television service is available from Comcast Cable Communications. Comcast has completed an upgrade of its cable system by installing a fiber overlay in order to provide digital service and high speed Internet services to residents in town. Satellite dish service is available from several carriers.
- Broadband, Fiber Optic and Wireless – Our town and region are served by numerous telecommunication providers and a unique fiber optic network that includes SONET self-healing rings, digital switching capabilities and access to long-distance carriers. This network supports voice, video, and data communications.
Transportation - Ground
Transportation facilities within Altavista include approximately 4 miles of primary roadways, 26 miles of secondary roadways and 6 miles of railways. In addition, there are major highways, railways and regional airports outside the boundaries of Altavista that provide access to and from the Town.
Several major highways are easily accessible from the Town of Altavista. These include U.S. Routes 29, 460, and 501.
- U.S. Route 29 is a multi-lane north-south federal highway passing from Washington, D.C., through Lynchburg, Altavista and Danville in Virginia and Greensboro and Charlotte in North Carolina, before ending in Georgia.
- U.S. Route 460 runs east-west from Norfolk, Virginia, to Lexington, Kentucky, connecting Lynchburg with the Hampton Roads area to the east and with Roanoke and the main highways of the west.
- At Roanoke, Route 460 connects with Interstate 81, a north-south interstate that starts at the Canadian border above Watertown, New York, and passes through the Shenandoah Valley before ending near Knoxville, Tennessee.
- U.S. Route 501 connects the Altavista area with the Shenandoah Valley to the northwest, as well as South Boston, Va., and central North Carolina in the east and south.
Altavista is also the starting point for Virginia Route 43 (Bedford Highway), which the State has classified as a “State By-Way” because of its scenic rustic landscape. This two-lane paved roadway winds from Altavista through Leesville and Bedford before climbing the majestic Peaks of Otter and descending into the Shenandoah Valley. The highway serves traffic to and from Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake.
The Town of Altavista, unlike many other towns, maintains and improves its own Secondary roadway system through the Altavista Department of Public Works. VDOT provides funding to the Town for assuming these duties, with payment being on a lane-mile basis.
Transportation – Air
There are several air transportation facilities in the region surrounding Altavista:
- Lynchburg Regional Airport – Located approximately 20 minutes north of Altavista at the intersection of US 29 and US 460 in Campbell County, just south of the Lynchburg City limits. This public use airport, owned and operated by the City of Lynchburg, has two (2) runways suitable for instrument landings, the longest being 5,800 feet. Two (2) regional carriers provide commercial passenger service. General Aviation Services helps meet the needs of general and corporate aviation travelers. The general aviation ramp can accommodate a variety of corporate aircraft, and hangar facilities are available upon request as well. Virginia Aviation operates acharter aircraft service and flight school from the airport, thereby, accommodating a variety of needs for both passengers and aviation services clients.
- Roanoke Regional Airport – The Roanoke Regional Airport is located off Interstate 581 in Roanoke County. The airport has two (2) runways, both of which are instrument landing strips. Five major airlines, either directly or through affiliates, serve the airport.
- Danville Regional Airport – The Danville Regional Airport, 40 minutes to the south, has three (3) lighted runways, the longest measuring 5,000 feet by 150 feet.
- Falwell Aviation, Inc. – Falwell Aviation, Inc. is a general utility airport located on US Route 460 in the City of Lynchburg. The airport has one runway 2,950 feet in length and has lights for night landings. Falwell Airport offers limited air freight/cargo service based on weight. This facility also offers charter passenger flights, flight instruction, aircraft rental, and aerial surveying services.
- Brookneal-Campbell County Airport – This general aviation facility is located off US Route 501 on Virginia Route 797 in Campbell County, six miles north of the Town of Brookneal. The airport has one 3,800-foot lighted runway suitable for instrument approaches from dusk to dawn. An unattended facility, it does not offer air freight/ cargo services, nor does it offer charter passenger service.
- In addition to these air facilities, Richmond International, Piedmont Triad International in Greensboro, NC, and Raleigh-Durham (NC) International are all located within two hours of Altavista, and the two international airports in Washington, D.C. are located approximately four hours away.
Transportation – Rail
The Norfolk Southern Railway Company, one of the giants in the rail transportation business, has two main lines passing through Altavista. In the early 1980's, shortly after the merger of the Norfolk and Western Railroad with the Southern Railway, a connecter linking the two lines was built in the Town of Hurt. This major undertaking allowed Norfolk Southern trains to cross from one line to the other, opening each line to new areas of the country. In the years since, the Hurt Connecter has become one of the most heavily traveled sections of rail in the Norfolk Southern system. Freight service is available from Norfolk and Southern.
Transportation – Trucking
Numerous interstate and intrastate motor freight companies serve the Central Virginia area and provide extensive service coverage to major markets and ports throughout the eastern United States and some areas of the Midwest and Canada. The trucking industry extensively utilizes U.S. Route 29, since it is the primary north-south route serving the length of the Virginia Piedmont area, and linking Altavista with the urbanizing areas of the East, Mid-Atlantic, and Sun Belt markets. Two local trucking companies also provide interstate service. In addition, Norfolk Southern offers “piggy-back” freight service (rail to road) from its general freight terminal located in Lynchburg (30 minutes to the north).
Altavista has a total civilian labor force of more than 5,000 workers with over 3,000 employed in manufacturing. We are a major industrial center in Central Virginia and are the location of over 30 percent of the manufacturing employment in Campbell County.
The town has a large number of in-commuting workers. There are 25,000 people living within a 12-mile radius of the town. Campbell County has a civilian labor force of 26,355, while Pittsylvania County has a civilian labor force of 34,071. Unemployment rates tend to range from 5% to 6%.
Our local workforce has continued to keep pace with the manufacturing demands through innovative partnerships and training opportunities. The Altavista Center, a local training arm of Central Virginia Community College, plays a critical role in the economic development of the area. It opened in January 2001 at the Altavista Office Park (formerly the Lane Corporate Office Building) at 701 5th Street near downtown. The Center offers a wide spectrum of day and evening programs in credit and credit-free modes. It also provides customized training in workforce development for business and industry. Delivery systems include traditional classroom instruction, on-line classes, compressed video (interactive TV in real time), computer assisted programs, Lab-in-box learning, and hybrid courses which combine on-line learning and compressed video. Assessment services available are COMPASS placement testing, Work Keys assessments, and career and interest inventories. The CVCC Altavista Center will continue to play a critical role in the future of Altavista.
The South Central Area Health Education Center (SCAHEC) is an independent, non-profit organization located in Altavista and serves several surrounding counties and cities. The program offers nurse aid and medication aid classes and is a regional test site for Nurse Aid Certification. Upon completion of the program, a student is eligible to take the state exam for certification. This program serves approximately 100 students each year.
In addition to these programs, there are sixteen (16) public and private two-year and four-year colleges/universities, many of which offer graduate programs, within approximately a 50-mile radius of Altavista.
Altavista has stayed “ahead of the curve” in the development and use of technology in the community. Technology is now seen as part of our basic infrastructure, and as essential as water, sewer, or electricity. All of the new homes being constructed in our community have access to today’s technological advances. Our businesses rely upon this technological access to expand their markets, provide ‘cutting edge’ services to local customers, and compete worldwide. Altavista will continue to aggressively pursue the implementation of the latest in communications technology capabilities to facilitate growth in the modern age.
- The Lane Company facilities are also available. There are two properties available: (1) a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with loading docks; (2) a major manufacturing facility with over 1 million square feet, including a distribution center with rail siding and numerous loading docks.
- Also available are graded industrial sites in the Dearing Ford Business & Manufacturing Center. These sites can be combined and/or subdivided to meet almost any need. For more information see www.CampbellVirginia.com