$1.1 million approved for business park project

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 22, 2006

Community officials Thursday welcomed word that a $1.1 millionfederal appropriation has been approved to assist in providinginfrastructure to the new LinBrook Business Park.

Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and U.S. Sen. Trent Lottannounced the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic DevelopmentAdministration funding allocation in a press release and with callsto local leaders. Community leaders hailed planning and a strongcollaboration between city, county and chamber leaders inpersuading EDA to OK the funding.

“This is one of those situations that shows you what can getdone when we work together,” said Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, amember of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Economic DevelopmentAlliance that oversees park-related activities.

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Others agreed.

Mayor Bob Massengill, also an alliance member, was excited tohear the news of the funding approval and said the park representsa great opportunity to attract business and industries.

“It’s going to put us back in the economic development ballgame,” the mayor said.

City Clerk Mike Jinks, who is alliance chairman, was verypleased to hear about funding approval.

“That’s going to make a tremendous impact on gettinginfrastructure to the site,” said Jinks, adding that he appreciatedPickering and the rest of the state’s congressional delegationhelping to secure the federal funds.

The federal funds represent approximately 20 percent of the $5.4million park infrastructure project costs.

“These funds will contribute to the economic development andcommunity growth of Brookhaven and Lincoln County,” Pickering said.”This project will provide new, high paying jobs and stronger localeconomy.”

The remaining funds are coming from up to $2.2 million bondissues each approved by the city and county. Bishop praisedsupervisors and aldermen for having vision and courage to make thevote to approve the total $4.4 million in bond issues for thepark.

“If they didn’t do it, we wouldn’t have this park,” Bishopsaid.

Bishop said he is hoping to see dirt moved on the infrastructureproject in early 2007.

“There’s no reason for that not to happen,” Bishop said.

Bishop and Massengill said the project includes an elevatedwater tank and possible well, water and sewer lines, roads andlighting. The mayor said having developed land is vital in pursuitof economic development.

When industries consider where they will locate, communitiesthat have available land make the first cut, but communities thathave developed land make the second cut and stand a better chanceof being chosen, Massengill said. He said the business park sitehas a lot to offer in terms of location, interstate and rail accessand other factors.

“We’re in a perfect location to benefit,” Massengill said.

Thursday’s announcement said the project would create 119 jobsand $17 million in private investment.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield, however, said those numbers were basedon estimates included in the grant application and the types ofbusiness and industries officials will pursue.

“There is no definite industry identified for the park,” saidBrumfield, adding that officials are working diligently to recruitprospects for when the park is ready for occupancy.

Bishop was confident the park will produce great results for thecommunity.

“This is the first step to the LinBrook Business Park creating alot of jobs for a lot of people,” Bishop said.