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City sells land for new industry; 60 jobs expected

A Brookhaven Board of Alderman vote to sell five acres ofindustrial property opens the door for a new $11 million industrydevelopment and the addition of around 60 jobs, a chamber ofcommerce official said.

A Brookhaven Board of Alderman vote to sell five acres ofindustrial property opens the door for a new $11 million industrydevelopment and the addition of around 60 jobs, a chamber ofcommerce official said.

City officials voted Tuesday to sell five acres of land to anunidentified industrial prospect that specializes in the conversionof gaseous carbon dioxide into liquid carbon dioxide, which is usedin soft drink, poultry processing and other areas.

Chandler Russ, chamber of commerce executive vice-president,said there would be a two-part development.

Part one would be an approximately $4.5 million facility, with12-15 new jobs and salaries of around $45,000. Part two would be adry ice sister company that would provide 45 more jobs and bringthe total investment to $11 million.

“We’re talking really good jobs, and it’s a piece of land we’rereally looking forward to selling,” Russ said, adding that thesister company would need an additional five acres later.

The land is located next to the new Specialty Minerals plant andwould meet the prospect’s rail frontage needs, Russ said. Theselling price is a standard $6,000 an acre, and the company isready to get started, Russ said.

“We need to get them some kind of construction access road tothe property,” Russ said.

To that end, Russ sought approval for the city to seek aCommunity Development Block Grant to help with road constructionand providing water and sewer services. Mayor Bill Godboldinitially hesitated at the road construction request, but wasassured by City Engineer Carl Ray Furr that the grant would coverthe costs.

Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson questioned the secrecyin not revealing the prospect’s identity.

“As city fathers, I feel we should know as well,” Wilsonsaid.

Russ said the industry in question was highly-competitive, andhe was under a confidentiality agreement to not disclose theidentity. Godbold sought to side track questions about thecompany.

“I don’t even know, and I talked to them,” the mayor said. “Itdoesn’t matter to me as long as they come in.”

A motion to approve the land sale and to submit a grantapplication were unanimously approved.

In related matters, city officials approved paying $10,000toward a Economic Development Administration grant application tostudy possible sites for a new industrial park. The $100,000 grantwould be available on a 70-30 basis, with the city, county andVision Partnership each contributing $10,000 toward the 30 percentlocal match.

“The city and county desperately need a new industrial park,”Furr said.

Also regarding the industrial park, Russ said the sale approvedlast night and the one for part two of the industrial prospect’sefforts would essentially fill up the current park.

“Realistically, we’re finished. We’re out of land,” Russsaid.

Russ sought city approval to purchase 40 acres of land north ofthe Wal-Mart Distribution Center at $6,000 an acre.

“It’s probably the last, best piece of property in theindustrial park,” Russ said.

The site was identified as a possible location for a newInternational Paper plant, but company officials have since putexpansion plans on hold.

Instead of outright buying the property, Godbold suggested thecity seek an eight to 12-month option to buy. He indicated thatwould allow time to gauge potential interest in the property.

“We could hold it until we see better,” Godbold said.

Aldermen approved seeking an option to buy the property.

Russ also updated aldermen on plans for the Ole Brook Festival,which is scheduled for Sept. 28-29 in downtown. For the event,aldermen approved closing Whitworth Avenue from Chickasaw Street toMonticello Street and Cherokee Street between Whitworth Avenue andthe post office.