Forest Pro continues to build

Published 11:25 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Forest Pro Inc.’s Charlotte County location is getting closer to the completion of construction, according to Chairman of the Heartland Regional Industrial Facility Authority Gary Walker on Friday.

“They are putting the foundation in now to start putting the building up,” Walker said. “They’re making some good progress.”

“I think the weather has gotten them held up,” Walker said. Forest Pro initially purchased 16.84 acres from the authority for $180,000 in 2015 to construct its facility.

According to Walker in a previous Gazette report, the processes of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held back the opening of the business, which will act as a Tigercat franchise that sells new and used forestry equipment.

“It will be a few jobs for people, and it will also be some tax benefit to the county and to the Heartland Park,” Walker said, referencing benefits the business will bring to the area.

The authority previously agreed to pay $40,000 in reimbursements to Forest Pro, providing set provisions were met after construction of the new business.

“They learned late in the process, and I think late in 2016, that there was going to be a cost associated with their project which they had not anticipated,” said Russell Slayton, the authority’s attorney, during the authority’s first meeting in 2017 in reference to Forest Pro.

According to Slayton, officials with Forest Pro spoke with Walker and learned the cost would be about $80,000.

The $80,000 fee is not associated with only a DEQ permit, according to Slayton, but a phosphorus remediation charge at the site.

While there are three ways remediation could be accomplished, Slayton said the option of purchasing DEQ-approved credits would cost just more than $83,000 in addition to $2,700 for a DEQ permit, totaling around $86,000.

“The $86,000 exceeds the amount that was discussed,” Slayton said, noting both parties were unaware of the additional fee at the time of the sale.

“We’ve sold him the land, he owns it,” Walker said in a February 2017 authority meeting. “Mr. (Charles) Tapscott has been waiting for 16 months now … He’s beyond frustrated. He bought the land in November 2015, and he thought he was going to have it built by January or February of last year.”

Slayton drafted an agreement outlining a number of conditions, which would reflect Forest Pro receiving the reimbursement after construction of the facility and a specific set of provisions had been met.