The Bedford area is decidedly pro-active in economic development. Primarily, the focus has been on acquiring and developing industrial property with appropriate zoning and the necessary public infrastructure such as adequate public roads, water, sewer and storm water management. In some cases, shell buildings have been made available so that a new or expanding industry might be afforded an opportunity to move ahead on a project with a shortened timetable.
Available industrial sites are not limited to one area alone. In fact, at least three separate sites along a major highway corridor (US Rt. 460) are publicly owned and operated. The significant advantage of publicly owned industrial property is the opportunity for an expedient project, and it can also mean the establishment of a long-standing working relationship between the company and the locality. The newest industrial site is a 110-acre Bedford Center For Business, which is operated by the Bedford City/County Joint Industrial Development Authority.
The County and the City also each have an Office of Economic Development with professional staff members who can facilitate expansions and relocations. In addition, each locality has an active Industrial Development Authority to assist new or expanding companies with projects and offer tax exempt industrial revenue bond financing as an option for qualifying industries. Each industrial Development Authority may provide incentive assistance for qualifying projects.
The Bedford area labor force is adequate for existing and future industrial needs. Workers are plentiful in the area as well as in the Lynchburg MSA of which Bedford is a part. Due to proximity to Roanoke and Lynchburg, the labor force within a 30 mile radius of Bedford is in excess of a quarter of a million.
Twenty-nine percent of the Bedford area workforce is employed in manufacturing. Services, retail trade, local government and construction are the next largest employers. Workforce training and development is available through the Virginia Employment Commission and local community colleges.
The Bedford area is served by eight national and local banking corporations. Automated teller machines are conveniently located throughout the City and County. Industrial Development Authorities in the City and County are authorized to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds.
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