WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development has approved Wythe County’s request to renew and expand the county’s enterprise zones.

The Virginia Enterprise Zone program is a partnership between state and local government that encourages job creation and private investment through special incentives and grants for businesses wishing to expand their operation in the Commonwealth.

In addition to formally requesting to be renewed for another five years, the Board of Supervisors voted on June 10, 2014, to expand the county’s enterprise zone. Previously, the zone had been limited to Progress Park, but has now been approved to include the land around Interstate 81’s Exits 77, 80, 81, 84, 86, as well as areas which fell under the jurisdiction of town governments in the county.

Municipal governments in the towns of Wytheville and Rural Retreat also elected to designate certain incentives to enterprise zones that fall within their locality.

“Job creation has always been at the top of this Board’s agenda and by expanding our enterprise zones to include the areas along the interstate corridor, we are broadening our net. We have the traffic and infrastructure in place – now that the areas around these exits are labeled as an enterprise zone, we’ll be able to offer additional incentives which may be the determining factor in business choosing to come to Wythe County,” stated Tim Reeves, Chairman of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors.

A number of prerequisites have been instituted for a business to be eligible for enterprise zone grants; these requirements include offering health insurance to employees, as well as paying employees a minimum of 175% of the federal minimum wage.

Representatives from the Department of Housing & Community Development met with local economic leaders in the county this morning, discussing strategies and making recommendations to ensure a positive impact on the community during the next five years.

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