Thursday, May 11, 2006
IDA ‘very busy’ with county growth
By BARRY BURLESON
The inquiries just keep coming in to the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, from industrial, to residential, to commercial.
“We’re very busy at the IDA and very excited,” executive director Bill Renick told members of the Holly Springs Rotary Club last week. “Ten years ago DeSoto County was not as far along as us. In the next 10 years Marshall County will see great growth. Are we prepared? It will probably happen whether we are or not.”
Renick focused his talk on the 2,600-acre Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park in the northwest corner of the county. A $1.5 million sewer line is in place with one customer, Exel, and the next almost ready, Mid-South Ag Equipment.
“That (sewer line) makes all the difference in the world to developers looking for property,” Renick said. “We have great cooperation with all the utility companies.”
He said Exel, which only opened its 700,000 square foot operation in January, is far exceeding its expectations at this point, in employees and shipping.
He called IDA board member Del Stover “the father” of Chickasaw Trail. He said Stover had poured more than 10 years of work into the project, “mainly at no cost.”
Renick had just had a two-day visit concerning “the largest economic development project working in the state.”
“We’re in the final three sites of all the United States,” Renick said. “I can’t tell you the company. I don’t know who they are.”
He said the soft goods business is planning a one-million-square-foot facility with 800 employees, and 250 trucks in and out a day.
The biggest issue when trying to locate new industries, Renick said, is workforce. Local leaders are trying to land a full-time WIN Job Center in the county.
“We’ve got to get those (workforce) numbers up,” he said. “We try to let people know that we have a regional workforce of over 600,000 within a 30-minute drive.”
There’s also a lot of residential activity in the northwest corner of the county, one of the newest being approval of a 500-lot development on Quinn Road that borders the Tennessee state line. Another 829 acres on Highway 302, with a new managing owner, will likely be used for housing.
“I met last week with Don Randolph (superintendent of Marshall County Schools), keeping him up to date,” Renick said. “These developers are asking about schools. At some point, a new school will be needed in that area.”
On the commercial side, a 200-acre development is on go in the Chickasaw Trail area of the county for professional offices.
“We’re getting more and more inquiries from commercial developers,” he said.
A traffic study will lead to a light being installed in the next couple of weeks at the intersection of Cayce and Highway 72, plus a four-way stop will be put in place at the intersection of Cayce and Goodman. Tenneessee has started four-laning its end of Highway 72. All are measures to secure highway safety in that busy, and getting busier, transportation corridor.
The next big ground-breaking in the county will be for Cargill’s $17.5 million animal nutrition facility in Byhalia. Gov. Haley Barbour will be on hand for the ceremony Tuesday, June 6, at 2 p.m. The new industry will be located just off Highway 178, adjacent to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad track.
The IDA is also embarking on a new program that will focus on existing industry in Marshall County.
“Eighty-five percent of new jobs are provided by companies already here,” Renick said.
He mentioned growth at such industries as K-P Building Products and Abby Manufacturing. IDA is also working with a prospect for the former Wenco building.
Holly Springs Commons
Renick also plugged the Holly Springs Commons, with retail buildings under construction at the site located off Highway 78 (Future I-22) as part of Phase I.
“The potential at Holly Springs Commons is big, really big (possibly $178 million, all phases),” he said.
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