The dream is becoming reality. Years in the making, the Wallops Research Park (WRP) is now ready for private development. It has become the decisive location for aerospace and aviation operations, specifically for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and medium-class space launch vehicles and particularly for those seeking to leverage and enhance the capabilities of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and NASA Wallops Flight Facility.
Conceptual conversations began as far back as 1998, with VDOT conceptual planning performed in 2002. Significant milestones indicated on the graphic above are expanded upon below.
- Water and Wastewater Feasibility Study Completed by GMB
- Planning Agreement Ratified
- Market Analysis Completed by BAE
- Cultural Resources Survey Conducted
- Feasibility Study for Workforce Development & Education Center Complete
- Service District Established 15.2-2400
- Environmental Assessment Completed by URS
- Space Act Agreement Ratified
- Approval of Empire Development Site Plan for Northrop Grumman Building
- Authorization of Leadership Council : Today’s active members include Tom Young as Chairman and representative for Accomack County, Mike Lehmkuhler from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) as Vice Chair, Caroline Massey representing NASA, Linda Thomas-Glover from the Virginia Community College System and Amber Parker from the Chincoteague Bay Field Station (formerly the Marine Science Consortium)
- Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions Developed
- Design Guidelines Established
- Traffic Assessment Prepared by Timmons Group
- Master Plan Summary submitted
- Northrop Grumman Building Completed
- Garrett Companies acquire 3.4 acre parcel within WRP for future development
- Bylaws Formed
- H.R. 2087 Passed which removed Federal restrictions from a parcel of land within the WRP, enabling the recreational land swap to occur.
- Infrastructure Funded through a $4M TPOF grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia and a $4M bond through Accomack County Board of Supervisors.
- Recreational Land Swap Completed
- FAA UAS Site Selection – December 30, 2013: This selection signified the inclusion of Wallops Island as a participant in one of six areas selected.
- Real Estate Strategic Plan commissioned from David Wilk, SVN - February 19, 2014
- MAAP Application submitted - May 13, 2014
- Groundbreaking – June 9, 2014
- Infrastructure Project Completion – December 17, 2014 (Projected)
It is through persistent hard work and dedication by a cadre of invested individuals that progress has been achieved. Along with the core owners, Accomack County, Chincoteague Bay Field Station (formerly Marine Sciences Consortium) and NASA, there has been support on the Federal level from the NAVY Surface Command Systems Center (SCSC). The Commonwealth of Virginia has assisted not only financially, but by partnering through VDOT, VEDP and planning resources. Elected officials like Congressman Scott Rigell worked tirelessly to have H.R. 2087 become law. Senator Lynwood Lewis and Delegate Robert Bloxom have been staunch supporters. The Accomack County Board of Supervisors deserves the utmost credit for investing in the future of the County and its citizenry.
The Eastern Shore Defense Alliance (ESDA), Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) have been instrumental to the cause. Private industry partners such as Orbital Sciences, Empire Development and Garrett Development have brought the concept of financial feasibility to reality.