Private investment speaks volumes for economy

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More than $20 million in private investment dollars have been pledged to Pike County economic development projects within the past 90 days.

Just let that sink in for a minute: $20 million announced within the past three months.

The projects are impressive in scope and include the expansion of two existing businesses and the addition of a significant new retail project:

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• Harbert Realty Services Inc. will invest $10 million in the purchase and development of land for a new retail space, to be anchored by a Publix grocery store in Troy.

• Southern Classic Food Group will investment $8.7 million in an expansion of its exiting food processing facility to accommodate new juice lines and the development of a new venture – Magnolia Vegetable Processors – which will bring a new pickling and processing plant and some 50-60 new jobs within the first 30 months of operation.

• CGI, a worldwide tech company, plans to invest $1.5 million in an expansion that will generate the equivalent of 60 to 200 new jobs, varying seasonally.

In each of these cases, business owners and investors are making a conscious decision to invest their resources in Pike County. And they are doing so with the expectation of finding success, and profitability

That’s no small measure of our success as a community.

These types of private investments don’t come without a tremendous amount of hard work, by folks at the Pike County Economic Development Corp.; city officials with Troy and Brundidge; Pike County officials; utilities officials; and state and regional economic development leaders who work to put together to match private investments with public grants and government incentives to make these deals a reality.

In cases such as the CGI expansion, the City of Troy will offer a tax abatement – meaning it will not levy sales or property taxes – on the $1.5 million the company expects to invest in the expansion.

For the Publix project, Troy will seek bond financing to invest $10 million in the construction of two new corridor roads and the purchase of surrounding land for development, as well as offer $1 million in financial incentives over a 10-year period for the operation of the grocery store.

And in Brundidge, the city is parlaying its tax revenues from a prior economic development success story – the Walmart Distribution Center – into seed money to help fund the $1.2 million purchase of 220 acres of land that will be used for the construction of the Magnolia Vegetable Processors facility and has been approved for state funds to help pay for the new road that will service the facility.

The end result is that here in Pike County, three key components of our economy – retail, manufacturing, and the tech industry – are receiving a significant influx of private investment and future growth.

And that’s the best news of all.