By Connie Morrison
The Accomack County Board of Supervisors held a special joint work session with the Wallops Research Park Leadership Council on November 7 to review the status of the Research Park plans.
The Research Park has been on the drawing board several years, but has hit snags that have kept it from moving forward.
Governor Bob McDonnell's offer of a $4 million grant from the Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund to pay for a taxiway has placed some urgency on completing the next steps. The grant application is due December 1, and terms of the grant would require a $4 million local match that would be used to build Research Park roads and water and sewer systems.
District 3 Supervisor Grayson Chesser voiced concerns over the feasibility of such an installation, and the ability of it to be self-sustaining. In response, Caroline Massey, Assistant Director of Management Operations at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Wallops Flight Facility, and member of the Wallops Research Park Leadership Council, said her office receives business opportunity calls every week that it turns away for lack of facilities to house them. As further assurance, she added that NASA will not complete with the private sector and that all interests for office space, staging, and storage will be referred to the research park.
In the end, the Board of Supervisor passed a resolution on an 8-1 vote approving the $4 million in matching funds, and authorized County staff to proceed with the issuance of bonds once the state grant is made.