County transfers road to Lockheed Martin

Published 10:04 pm Monday, March 26, 2018

After two months of public debate and discussion, the Pike County Commission voted Monday to close a portion of a public road to give Lockheed Martin an opportunity to expand.

“A lot of positive things come from closing County Road 7717,” said Chairman Robin Sullivan. “We’re talking about 150-200 quality, high-paying jobs and Lockheed has been good to this community.”

Lockheed first petitioned the commission for the road’s closure in September 2017, seeking 2.7 miles of the road and 33 acres along the roadway to eliminate an obstacle to expansion.

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“We have 39 completed buildings across our site,” said Lockheed martin representative Adam Carson at the Feb. 26 meeting of the commission. “But we have to abide by (a regulation) that says there has to be certain distance between facilities on our site. It keeps us from building anything within 1,250 feet of public roads, our property line and the transmission lines that run through our property … As we stand today, those three new projects were the only spots left to construct facilities on our site. Without this road, we will no longer be considered for future contract wins.”

Opponents of the road being given up said that Lockheed’s request did not substantiate closing a public road, proposing that it would create extra traffic in the area, cut off routes for local landowners and drop nearby property values.

Sullivan said Lockheed is a good neighbor that has been beneficial to the county since it located here.

“A couple of years ago the Meeksville Fire Department came to us asked for $1,500 to have repair done on a building and we told them we didn’t have the money,” Sullivan said. “Lockheed said we saw this in the paper and want to take care of that for you. That’s the kind of good neighbor I want people to understand that we have. They weren’t asked to do that; they saw that need and they fulfilled that need.”

Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6, said that this decision was not taken lightly.

“We did six months of due diligence looking into every bit of this,” Johnson said. “I campaigned on not having knee-jerk reactions. We have taken arguments brought forth by both sides and gone out ourselves and ridden, looked and researched.”

One of the biggest factors in the decision, Johnson said, was the creation of jobs so that the people in Pike County entering the workforce have more opportunities to stay here instead of moving out to find work somewhere else.