By John Zippert,
At its regular meeting on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, the Greene County Industrial Development Authority (GCIDA) received a contribution of $1,000 to advance its work in bringing economic development to the county.
Danielle Kimbrough, Alabama Power public relations officer for west Alabama, at Tuscaloosa, said, “We help bring industrial and commercial customers to our area, which in turn brings jobs, tax revenues and improvement in the overall quality of life. Donations to organizations like GCIDA, allow us to help communities have resources to grow their communities.”
Phillis Belcher, Executive Director of the GCIDA said, “We appreciate the support of companies like Alabama Power Company to assist us in our basic mission of bringing development and jobs to Greene County,”
Belcher pointed out that the GCIDA has a 1000 acre Crossroads of America Industrial Park at Boligee, which is served by Interstates 20 and 59, railroads running north and south and east and west to connect to anywhere in the nation and access to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway for barge traffic to the Port of Mobile and inland river parts across the nation.
“We have two major industrial companies, located in our Crossroads Park.
These are EPPCo, a petroleum products distributor that has a Waterway port and West Rock, a paper company, which has a warehouse on the interstate highway. We are always looking for new industries to come and locate in our park or other industrial locations around the county,” said Belcher.
Belcher pointed out that the GCIDA has been instrumental in helping to recruit and support Love’s Truck and Travel Store company, to locate its truck stop at the Interstate 20/59 Exit 40, in Eutaw. GCIDA assisted the City of Eutaw in securing over a million dollars in grant and loan support to bring sewage to the Love’s site and make other site and lighting improvements.
“This commercial development will bring 43 jobs and new tax revenues to Eutaw and Greene County. It also opens up the Exit 40 area for other needed development,” said Danny Cooper, Chairperson of the GCIDA.
At Wednesday’s meeting the board heard from Donnie Wedgeworth, owner of Consolidated Catfish Producers, the catfish processing plant on Highway 43 in Eutaw. Wedgeworth stated his interest in working closely with the IDA in future development of his catfish processing business.
At the meeting the GCIDA discussed various projects and prospects that are considering Greene County. A hemp processing company is interested in lease-purchasing the 50,000 square foot Speculative Building, which stands empty in the Crossroads of America Park. A railroad company is negotiating to store railroad cars on a temporary basis on tracks in the park. Other wood products industry prospects have visited the park in the past year to see if it was suitable and useful for their future plans.
Phillis Belcher said, “We have one great challenge remaining to make our Crossroads of America Park attractive to industrial prospects. We do not have a natural gas pipeline serving our industrial park. We have met with many industrial prospects for whom this was a ‘deal breaker’. We need access to natural gas for industries that need gas heat in their industrial processes.
“We have been working on exploring ways to bring natural gas to our Crossroads Park. The nearest gas sources are 15 to 20 miles away and the cost of constructing a large diameter pipeline to serve our Crossroads Park is estimated in the $15-20 million dollar range. We have asked for help from Spire, the gas company serving our area and our state and Federal public officials. The GCIDA is continuing to work on this challenge.”