Does Greene County really need a million-dollar tourism center?
In late March I blogged about a real estate transaction that would be taking place in my home county of Greene. At that time, it had become known that a building and property on Route 29 in Ruckersville was being looked at as a possible home for the Greene Economic Development Authority. This land and building owned by a member of the Board of Tourism has been empty for quite some time. The initial projected use for this purchase was to be a new location for the Chamber of Commerce, an enterprise center for developing businesses and a new office for the EDA director Alan Yost. However according to a recent article in the Greene County Record it will now be the new home of the Greene Visitor Center.
This transaction stinks of cronyism. I have a few questions about this whole deal. The first question I have is how long has this property been on the market? I live not to far from this parcel and have passed it dozens of times over the last year in my many visits to Lowe’s. I have never seen a for sale sign in front the building which makes me wonder was it ever listed with a realtor? If not, was the owner just waiting for the right time to sell it to the county? There are at least four commercial land parcels on Rt. 29 in Ruckersville that are up for sale and have been for quite a while without any movement. I guess the owners of these properties just don’t have the right connections.
The next big question is why would the county want to waste tax dollars generated by the transient occupancy tax on one building? This million-dollar debacle will not do anything to increase tourism in Greene. Yes, we need to do something to generate more tourist driven revenue in our county, a million dollars would go far in attracting events and then advertising those events which in turn would attract visitors. No one is going to come to Greene just to visit a visitor center. I don’t believe that many people have visitor centers on their list as destinations, they come for other reasons and may drop in as an after thought. Interesting happenings like wine festivals, craft fairs, car shows and almost anything else besides a boring building would bring people to our county. Tying up a million dollars in taxes over the years will not benefit anyone besides the people directly involved in this scam. The Board of Supervisors need to put a stop to this and need to pull their support for this transaction. If they don’t, they should all be voted out of office for this obvious malfeasance of tax payer dollars.