Grant boosts effort to find industrial site

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2001

With some help from a federal grant, chamber of commerceofficials say they are moving forward with plans to find a site fora new industrial park.

The current industrial park on Industrial Park Road is nearingcapacity and has few tracts suitable for a large industry. Chamberand Industrial Development Foundation officials hope to addressthat situation with the aid of an Economic DevelopmentAdministration grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Probably the most important thing we can do for economicdevelopment would be to develop a new industrial park so that we’llhave it for the future and might be able to attract industry tolocate in our area,” said Bill Sones, chairman of the IDF’sindustrial park site committee.

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Chandler Russ, chamber executive vice-president, said thetechnical assistance grant will help in evaluating multiple sitesin Lincoln County for a new park. Sites range in size from 300 to1,500 acres.

“We expect cost of the project to be in the neighborhood of$100,000 to $105,000,” Russ said about the evaluation.

The grant is available on a 70 percent federal — 30 percentlocal basis.

County supervisors Monday approved submitting a grantapplication on the IDF’s behalf and to provide 10 percent of thelocal cost. The city and the Vision Partnership will also be askedto provide 10 percent of the local cost.

“We’ll have a partnership from the beginning between the city,county and Vision Partnership,” Russ said.

Russ said at least five sites are to be evaluated withenvironmental tests, soil boring, engineering plans and otherindustrial park aspects.

“We’ll have at the end of the day, the property we want and anidea of the costs of converting the property for an industrialsite, as well as having environmental testing done,” Russ said.

Russ said he expected the chamber could have the study fundingin about 90 days, with the evaluation starting soon thereafter. Theevaluation process would take about 90-120 days.

“After that, we’ll move forward with property acquisition anddetermine how to get the necessary infrastructure in place for anindustrial park,” Russ said.

Russ complimented good committee leadership and cooperation asthe park process gets under way. He was optimistic about developinga new industrial park.

“We’ll have an industrial park that the citizens of Brookhavenand Lincoln County can be proud of so that we can continue to growand prosper over the next 30 years,” Russ said.