‘Project Bolt’ identity still unconfirmed

Published 1:46 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

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During the Windsor Town Council meeting on Tuesday evening, a town area resident called out that “Project Bolt” is Community Electric Cooperative. But, while that statement was neither confirmed nor denied during the meeting, Town Manager Michael Stallings said on Friday that he does not know the identity.

The code name is one that Isle of Wight County officials have been using to refer to a business that has reportedly expressed interest in locating next to the planned juvenile correctional facility south of Windsor.

Jessica Parr, spokeswoman for the Windsor-based co-op, confirmed on Wednesday that Community Electric has had what were supposed to be confidential conversations with the county’s economic development staff regarding the possibility of relocating from its facility on Windsor Boulevard (U.S. Route 460). Parr said the co-op began looking at alternative locations — to include the 19.5-acre site on Walters Highway (U.S. Route 258) adjacent to that of the proposed correctional center — as part of formulating a new 10-year plan. County officials first made public mention of “Project Bolt” in November 2018.

“Although the property off of Route 258 has been explored, so have other potential locations,” she said. “Being that we are still reviewing options and acquiring information — we may ultimately find that remaining in our current location is best at this time. So, to say that CEC is the new business for said property is not factual.”

The reason the co-op had wanted to keep discussions of its plans confidential, Parr said, was because those discussions were still preliminary.

“Companies are often concerned that public discussions of their efforts to expand or relocate will put them at a competitive disadvantage, negatively impact investors, and/or negatively impact their ability to negotiate because many times they might be considering/talking to multiple communities at the same time,” said Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson. “Sometimes non-disclosure agreements are put into place to ensure confidentiality.

“Breach of confidentiality can also hurt the County’s economic development efforts and deter companies from considering us as a site for expansion or relocation. Jobs, investments, and the overall economic health of our community are dependent on the County’s ability to negotiate in good faith with current and prospective businesses.”

Community Electric has been in Windsor since 1938. The co-op has just over 11,000 meters and serves parts of Isle of Wight County, Southampton County and the city of Suffolk — purchasing electricity in bulk through Old Dominion Electric Cooperative near Richmond, and passing the resulting cost savings on to area residents. Unlike Franklin Power and Light, which is part of that city’s government, Community Electric is run by a board and is owned by its members.

“Any money we make at the end of the year we give back to our members,” Parr explained.


STEPHEN H. COWLES, managing editor, contributed to this story.