Thursday, July 19, 2012
IDA director updates projects
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce had several guests for a recent quarterly luncheon at the Beckley Center at Rust College. They gave updates on industrial development, tourism and Teach For America.
Among the speakers was Bill Mobley, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, who reviewed projects working in the county.
He cited the work on Highway 78 (future I-22) in Marshall and DeSoto counties that will upgrade the highway to interstate status. Work includes establishing interstate standard fencing, resurfacing the highway and other upgrades.
A new interchange will be built for the new I-269 coming through Marshall County on Highway 72 from across the state line. A second interchange will be built north of the Town of Byhalia. I-269 is currently under construction from the Tennessee line to Highway 302.
“That’s great for Marshall County because it goes right through the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park,” Mobley said.
Paving of that section should take place in the fall of 2014, he said.
Construction of the section from Byhalia to I-55 starts in 2012. Construction of the section of I-269 from Highway 302 to Byhalia should begin by 2014, he said. That segment will cross the Coldwater River and wetlands.
“We are excited about the industrial park section because the Tennessee portion is already built,” Mobley said.
The right-of-way purchasing for the four-mile stretch of Highway 72, that will be built to four lanes, should take place in 2013 or 2014, he said. There will be a half clover leaf at the intersection of Highway 72 and a new road built to the Norfolk Southern Intermodal yard in Rossville, Tenn.
Water, sewer and gas are in place at the industrial park, a big draw for prospective new businesses to the park. The latest partner at the park is Roxul, a rock wool insulation manufacturer, which will add about $150 million in construction and 150 jobs.
“We are working five requests for information on the park now,” Mobley said. “A lot of real estate firms are interested.”
Several projects are working in Holly Springs at two sites within the city limits, he said.
Contract Fabricators Inc. just added a $4 million shop to its existing facility in Holly Springs and 30 new jobs, Mobley said. ASICS hired 200 employees for its warehousing facility at Chickasaw and put another $40 million on the tax rolls last year.
Roxul will build its facility in the next 18-24 months, he said.
“We’ve got a lot, lot going on,” Mobley said.
There are prospects looking at industrial property in Byhalia .
Mobley praised partnerships at the local, regional, and state level in bringing new manufacturing and other facilities to Marshall County. All these projects add to the tax base of the county and bring employment opportunities to the county, he said.
Stephanie McKinney, executive director of the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau, provided an update on tourism matters.
The office has a new manager, Lakisha Buffington, who is doing lots of research and has helped with a promotional video for Preserve Marshall County/Holly Springs.
“A lot of stuff is going on and we have 10-15 people a day now,” McKinney said. “It looks like tourism is getting better. We did see a drop in tourists last year.”
Several upcoming events to put on the calendar are the Hummingbird Festival on September 7-9 and the Wrecking Ball, set for September 22 at Chalmers Institute.
Teach for America
Sean Anthony, who works with school districts in Panola and Marshall counties, talked about the new push to include North Mississippi schools in the Mississippi Teacher Corps program.
He highlighted some projects that Teacher Corps members initiated in Arkansas and Mississippi.
In Holly Springs, 24 eighth grade students received a trip of a lifetime – a tour of New York City. It was the first time some of the students had been on a trip and first time for some to go out of state.
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