The U.S. Census Bureau has released 2017 data on its OnTheMap website, which is a very intuitive source for recent employment and commuting data. This data is available for most areas of the U.S., and the West Piedmont Planning District is no exception. Using this tool, we briefly explore employment concentration and major employers in the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County; Martinsville and Henry County were analyzed two weeks ago. According to the website, data sources for this information include Unemployment Insurance Wage Records, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Quarterly Census for Employment and Wages (QCEW) (https://lehd.ces.census.gov/applications/help/onthemap.html#!data_sources).
The figure directly below illustrates employment concentrations in the City of Danville. The figure illustrates four employment concentrations in the city. The large single employment concentration located in the southeast portion of the city, near the North Carolina state line, is Goodyear Corporation, which employed more than 2,000 as of 2019. The employment concentration on the far east side of the city, near the Pittsylvania County line is the Airside Industrial Park. This regional employment center is home to employers including PRA Group; Litehouse Foods; Essel Propack, LLC; Piedmont Precision Machine Co, Inc; Nestle; and GSO Aviation.
The employment concentration located in the northwest corner of the City of Danville comprises regional retail shopping which consists of the Danville Mall and the Coleman Marketplace, along with other area retail establishments and restaurants. Within the center of the city can be found two significant concentrations of employment. The northern-most of the two is Danville’s River District, which includes the city’s traditional downtown area situated along South Main Street and its perpendicular sibling, the Tobacco Warehouse District, along Craghead Street which is home to many of the city’s new apartments and condominiums, occupying former tobacco warehouses. Current employment in this area consists of retail, service, and office work, the latter of which is heavily represented by the city’s administrative offices. As the River District continues to mature and grow, it is likely that a higher concentration of employment will be present in that location, particularly at facilities such as the former Dan River Research building, which has been transformed into medical offices. The former White Mill building, located just to the west of the Dan River Research Building, may also be redeveloped in the near future, and depending on its future use, could accommodate substantial employment, based on its ample size. The employment concentration situated south of the River District represents Averett University’s main campus as well as SOVAH Health – Danville, formerly known as Danville Regional Medical Center.
In Pittsylvania County, as shown by the figure below, much of the employment concentration can be found along the U.S. Route 29 corridor, particularly in the towns of Chatham and Gretna. As the figure illustrates, some tentacles of employment can be seen emanating out in various directions from Danville, can be found throughout the county, as well as along the U.S. Route 58 corridor, particularly west of Danville. Other large regional employment centers are likely to emerge in Pittsylvania County as two industrial parks are developed. In the Town of Hurt, located at the northern edge of the county, sits the 800-acre Southern Virginia Multimodal Park, which formerly housed Klopman Mills. The County is working to redevelop the site into a modern industrial park, and several firms have expressed interest in the site. The larger, +- 3,500 acre Southern Virginia Mega Site at Berry Hill, located just west of Danville and south of U.S. Route 58 along Berry Hill Road, is primed for development and, at full build-out, is projected to employ more than 11,000. These two future employment sites, particularly the Berry Hill site, have the potential to significantly increase employment as well as residential development in both the city and county.
The City of Danville and Pittsylvania County together offer great opportunities for RIDE Solutions to work with employers to promote transportation demand management (TDM). If you represent an employer in this region, particularly in the human resources sector, and your company is trying to minimize absenteeism due to lack of reliable transportation while maximizing your pool of qualified workers, RIDE Solutions can be a great benefit to your firm. At no cost to you, we will promote carpooling vanpooling, transit, and other means to more effectively enable your employees to get to work more reliably and in a cost-efficient manner. I will be more than happy to meet with you to tell you more about our program, and I can be reached at Jbonanno@wppdc.org or at (276) 638-3987. To learn more about the RIDE Solutions program – including the free ride-matching app – please visit www.ridesolutions.org.