Business park project enters new phase

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It was less than one month ago that city and county officialsand local business leaders stopped to celebrate the raising of aone million-gallon water tank at west Brookhaven’s growingindustrial site, but now it’s back to business at the businesspark.

Local contractor Oddee Smith and Sons, Inc. has boots on theground at Linbrook Business Park – the hopeful home of theindustrial future of Lincoln County – moving earth by the ton inpreparation for the installation of $2.5 million worth ofinfrastructure.

The second phase of construction on the park will see theinstallation of industrial roadbeds stretching out into the woodedbusiness park, complete with all the infrastructure – like waterand sewer lines and fiber optic conduit – that potential industrieswould need to operate.

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The work is scheduled for completion next summer.

“We’re excavating now, and hopefully we’ll have the roadsprepared in a couple of weeks,” said company president Joel Smith.”Then, we’ll be looking at installing utilities and we’re hoping tobe ready to pave by the first of the year.”

The construction is designed to give potential industries asturdy means of transportation in and out of the park. Smith andhis employees aren’t building just any county road – it’s wider,thicker and more durable than normal.

The main road leading west into the park from Brookway BoulevardExtension, Saints Trail, will be paved to a length of approximately3,700 feet, while Road A – a new road that runs north and south,perpendicular to Saints Trail – will extend 2,400 feet.

Both roads will be two-lane, and are being constructed withheavy industrial truck traffic in mind and built with a 12-inchbase of lime-treated subgrade, a 6-inch layer of crushed limestoneand finally paved with 8 inches of hot mix asphalt. The total roaddepth will be 26 inches.

Each road will also be 80 feet wide, with a 10-foot shoulder oneach side.

Oddee Smith and Sons, Inc. is also preparing for Road B, a3,300-foot “future road” that will be ready for paving ifindustries require it. All three roads are being built to statehighway standards.

And while the roads begin and end inside the 400-acre industrialpark, Smith hopes they eventually carry Lincoln County somewhereelse.

“It’s a road to the future, hopefully you can call it,” Smithsaid of the job. “The next generation of children coming along willhopefully have opportunities for employment here in the county – Iguess this is kind of the groundbreaking for the future.”

Smith and the construction crews aren’t the only people workingto make such a wish come true. Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber ofCommerce Executive Director Cliff Brumfield said city, county andchamber officials have been marketing Linbrook to potentialindustries for almost two years now.

With every completed phase of construction, officials have onemore thing to show off to industries when promoting the site.

“You can see now just how impressive the park layout will beonce completed,” Brumfield said. “The park has come a long way inthe last few months.”

The layout of the park doesn’t just look good for potentialindustries; it serves a purpose for them as well.

Brumfield said the park was designed to meet the spacerequirements of targeted industries such as distribution centers,light manufacturing companies, fabrication plants and research anddevelopment centers.

The large grid formed by the intersecting roadways leaves plentyof acreage in each quadrant, while the east-west Canadian NationalRailway line runs through the west end of the park.

Brumfield said the park is large enough to accommodate six to 12industries simultaneously, depending on their size.

“Naturally, everyone wants a giant employer, but it would bemore advantageous for us not to put all our eggs in one basket byhaving several industries, each in diverse areas, that will providemore stability in these changing economic times,” he said.

Linbrook Business Park constitutes an approximately $6 millioninvestment by Brookhaven and Lincoln County, made possible bygovernment and private sector cooperation, and Brumfield said itwould be shepherded throughout the recruiting process.

“Any industry wishing to locate there will have to justify aland purchase by showing both adequate employment numbers and payscales,” he said. “The park is not intended to be an alternativebusiness location that would compete with private developments, butrather as a place where modern industries can carry out business inan environment that’s most suitable for them.”

Brumfield said a potential industry needs to have the ability toemployee at least 80 people and be able to meet environmental,aesthetic and other requirements to keep the park clean andfunctioning.