Park becoming reality

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 24, 2003

A new industrial park for the city of Troy is a step closer to becoming a reality after city and economic development officials secured options on land for a new park.

The land is located across from the Wal-Mart Supercenter on U.S. Hwy. 231.

"We've only got 39 acres left in the city's industrial park," said Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. "We need this industrial park project so we can have something to offer (industrial prospects) and compete with other cities."

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The new site will consist of about 180 acres currently owned by Cecil and Gail Dozier. A third option for highway frontage is still under negotiation, said Marsha Gaylard, president of Pike County Economic Development Corp.

"We have a lot of activity right now," she said, and has shown the existing 39 acres to three prospects in the last few weeks.

"When the city council agreed to look at this property, it was not only because of the three prospects, but they were also looking to the future of industrial development. If we're going to aggressively recruit, we have to have land to show them," Gaylard said.

By optioning the land, Lunsford said, the city could show the land to prospects pending

an actual sale, something Gaylard said had already taken place.

In order to purchase the property, two independent appraisals are necessary to establish market value. State law requires a public entity to pay no more than the lower of the two appraisals.

With the city's existing industrial park full, the search for the best site for a second park centered around what investments the city had already made.

"This property was attractive to us for four reasons," Lunsford said.

First, the site was already partially incorporated within the city limits. The provision for sewer services can be made a lower cost because it will free flow into the city's treatment facility, and a large enough water main already exists on the property to allow for adequate fire protection.

Perhaps the clincher for the city: Troy Utilities will provide the power to any companies that locate in the proposed park.

In addition, Gaylard said a minimum amount of site work would be required.

"There's quite a bit of flat, cleared land on the site already, and having most of the infrastructure close by is certainly an asset," she said. "It wouldn't take a lot of time nor money in getting the park ready for a prospect."

In fact, Gaylard said PCECD had consulted an engineer and was considering contracting with an industrial park design expert to make sure the city got the most from the new park.

An access road would have to be constructed, but Gaylard said that would be decided once a prospect bought land in the park.

When an industry actually locates, she said there were a variety of state grants that could provide additional funding to complete the park's infrastructure development.

Clif Lusk can be reached at clif.lusk