The Pittsylvania County Industrial Development Authority voted unanimously Tuesday, Aug. 13 to not approve a funding match for a broadband tower at Laurel Grove Volunteer Fire Department. 

Pittsylvania County Economic Development Director Matt Rowe said if the IDA had approved the funds, they would have paid $45,108 to speed up the broadband project for the Laurel Grove community. 

“All we can do now is hope the Kentuck tower has some reach,” Rowe said. “The Laurel Grove project could be delayed an upwards of two years now.”

Laurel Grove Volunteer Fire Department was willing to also contribute $10,000, which in addition to the $45,108 would have matched a $55,108 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission. 

Rowe said they have been in search of a match for the tobacco commission grant, and looked to the IDA to support the grant. 

After the meeting Tuesday night, Rowe said there are other options available for the project, and it was not a total loss.

“SCS Broadband is willing to provide smaller towers, but the project will take longer,” Rowe said. 

The fire department was the chosen location in 2018 for an announcement by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam about broadband reaching rural communities. 

Rowe said they will now weigh all of their options with SCS Broadband. 

“Sometimes in football you have to go three downs and punt. We’ll live to play another down,” Rowe said.  

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