By Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – The final phases of dirt work are underway to clear the way for construction of potential industry at Stinson Industrial Park, located on the northern end of the Highway 45 bypass.
“When trying to attract new industry, you don’t want to show them a cornfield or a pasture. Having a site already prepared can’t be underestimated and it shows the city is ready to do business,” said Tony Green, director of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce, with the help of Three Rivers Planning and Development District, wrote the grant and filed the application for the joint funded project by the city of Aberdeen and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The city of Aberdeen has received $186,000 to be split between industrial sites by the Stinson air strip and Port of Aberdeen. The city invested $349,116 in industrial development.
In former administrations, the Stinson site was originally envisioned for a site for a distribution center, but with the development of Blue Springs’ Toyota plant, a Tier 1 auto supplier has topped the wishlist for a potential tenant.
“Regardless, we are looking at creating more jobs and higher paying wages for the people of Aberdeen and Monroe County. By creating industrial sites, we can be more aggressive in attracting new industry,” said Mayor Jim Ballard.
The proximity to Highway 45 puts the industrial site as a center location between the existing industry of Columbus and Tupelo.
The 250 ft x 400 ft Stinson Industrial Park site pad can accommodate a 120,000 to 125,000 square foot building and will be offered with as many as 20 acres.
The industrial site, which has a 500,000 gallon water tank as a centerpiece, all together is 146 acres so there is plenty of space for several potential industries.
“We understand with the economic times, banks and lending agencies aren’t as quick to invest in new industry, but this puts us so far ahead of other areas in attracting new industry,” Green said.
So many companies interested in the area look for vacant buildings to house their operations and that’s a large market from Oxford to Columbus.
“We’re fortunate enough to have filled five vacant buildings with new businesses and expansions in the past year, leaving us with only two. County is doing better than other rural areas with the economy. We’re up 350 to 400 jobs over the past 12 months versus the end of 2009,” Green said.
As a result of the Smithville tornado, Townhouse Furniture relocated its operations to Mantachie, but plans to return.
In addition to the industrial sites, Ballard wants to establish a railroad spur as the third leg of the transportation myriad adding to the highway system and waterway.
“We’re looking at importing and exporting so much from the port and also looking at rail connectors between the Tenn Tom and Mississippi River,” Ballard said.