County gets grant for park study

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Lincoln County has been awarded a $70,000 Economic DevelopmentAdministration (EDA) grant to pursue a study for a new industrialpark, local and federal officials said.

Chandler Russ, executive vice-president of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said his agencyreceived word the award was forthcoming late last week and FourthDist. Rep. Ronnie Shows announced the grant Monday. The chamber hasbeen working with the county and city to secure the grant.

“Things are moving ahead,” Russ said following the Mondayannouncement.

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The county, city and Vision Partnership are each contributing$10,000 in matching money to fund the approximately $100,000 newindustrial park study.

“This investment in Lincoln County will benefit families andbusinesses and will promote the growth of jobs that yieldmarketable skills and substantial pay,” Shows said in the grantannouncement. “I am very pleased to see this type of funding comethrough for Brookhaven.”

The study will look at six proposed sites and evaluate theirsuitability as a new industrial park. Officials would like todevelop a new park on at least a 600-acre tract of land.

Sites under consideration include two in the north part of thecounty near Highway 51, a site west of the city on 16th Sectionland, one southwest of the city near Jackson-Liberty Road andanother southeast of the city near Highway 583. Also included forconsideration is land occupied by the softball complex, airport andMulti-Use Facility, even though a recommendation on that land couldmean moving those facilities.

Russ said local officials had earlier received permission fromEDA officials to accept proposals from engineering firms to do thestudy. That allowed chamber officials to get a head start on theprocess, although Russ said some time was lost because of amiscommunication over selection of a study engineer.

In March, the Industrial Development Foundation reviewedengineering firms and made a recommendation in April to the boardof supervisors. However, city officials, citing their financialcommitment, objected to not being consulted in the selectionprocess.

The board of supervisors subsequently readvertised. A committeeof two representatives each from the county, city and chamber wasset up to review the five engineering proposals that weresubmitted.

“We’ve scored the proposals and will make a recommendation tothe board of supervisors at their next meeting Monday,” Russsaid.

Russ did not say what engineering firm would be recommended.Following the supervisors’ action, Russ said he hopes to negotiatewith the chosen engineering firm on a contract and begin siteevaluation process as soon as possible.

The site evaluation process is expected to take about sixmonths.