Industrial park work continues

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 14, 2004

City, county and chamber of commerce officials reported goodprogress on development of a new industrial park, although severalquestions remain before the project can move forward.

“All the issues are being worked out,” said Brookhaven-LincolnCounty Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice-president Chandler Russfollowing a recent meeting with representatives of the threeentities.

Lincoln County Board President and District Two Supervisor BobbyJ. Watts said the city, county and chamber are all on the same pageregarding the industrial park.

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“We are really enjoying cooperating with one another,” Wattssaid. “It’s looking real good.”

Mayor Bob Massengill expressed similar sentiments.

“I feel this is going to be a good opportunity between all theparties involved,” Massengill said. “We’ve got the sameagenda.”

The first item on the agenda, Russ said, is to determine theappropriate entity for actually owning the property.

Possibilities include the Industrial Development Foundation orrevival of an economic development district that was formed severalyears ago to oversee the speculative building. Russ said Bob Allen,supervisors’ attorney, was asked to research that aspect.

Officials are considering 458 acres west of the city near theend of the Brookway Boulevard as the site of the new park. Theprice tag to obtain the property and develop it is estimated at$4.5 million.

“Progress is definitely being made toward getting control ofownership of the property,” Russ said.

The city and county have each been asked to come up with $2million to go with private money raised a few years ago in thechamber’s Vision Partnership campaign. Once entity ownership issuesare resolved, Russ said the next step will be for the city andcounty to determine their funding methods.

Bond issues have been discussed by both city and countyofficials. Massengill mentioned the possibility of the city usingalmost $1 million in economic development funds received fromWal-Mart for the park.

“That’s a board decision, but that would be my recommendation tothe board,” Massengill said.

Officials said having available industrial development is vitalto continue economic development efforts.

Most land in the current industrial park is gone, although thecity recently obtained an additional 40 acres for industrialdevelopment. Part of that land has been sold to a local warehouseoperation.

Russ said the chamber is promoting the site to three prospectsthat are considering locating in the area. Russ said the 10industrial prospects are in their infancy, but that’s more than thearea has had in many years.

Watts said the prospect activity was encouraging. He saidBrookhaven and Lincoln County have one of the brightest futures ofany community between New Orleans and Memphis.

“I like what I see, I like what I hear and I like what’s onpaper,” Watts said.

Massengill said he could think of nothing more encouraging thanto build the industrial park, fill it and then have to seek moreland for more industries.

Russ was enthusiastic about the area’s economic future.

“The city, county and chamber are making strides towarddeveloping Brookhaven’s and Lincoln County’s next industrial park,”Russ said.