By David Helms/Pontotoc Progress
Pontotoc aldermen voted unanimously last week to let Pontotoc County assume the city’s $350,000 debt portion on the 100-acre Cherry Creek Road industrial park site, which is owned by the city, the county and Three Rivers Planning and Development District.
The three-way partnership bought the $1.2-million site for industrial development in 2009, which included a $500,000 interest free loan from Three Rivers and $350,000 each from the city and county.
City officials said relinquishing ownership of the industrial park site, which requires several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of dirt work, will allow them to concentrate on possibly purchasing the former Ram Golf plant.
Randy Kelley, executive director of Three Rivers, urged aldermen last month to buy the Ram building and renovate the 123,000 square foot building into a new site to house Pontotoc’s WIN Job Center and four manufacturing incubators.
The city of Pontotoc currently owns a portion of the Ram building and some property is still owned by the Hansberger family.
Kelley urged city officials to renovate the front 9,000 square feet of the building for the WIN center, while converting the remaining square footage into four manufacturing incubators, ranging in size from 20,000 to 25,000 square feet.
Kelley said ICC officials, who operate the WIN center, and Economic Development Association officials were excited to pursue the proposal further.
Kelley told aldermen that EDA officials said 50-50 matching funds were available for such a project.
Aldermen authorized Mayor Jeff Stafford to obtain two appraisals on the Ram building property.
“We’re going to try and work out a good, fair price on the property and sit down with ICC and EDA officials and talk in detail about the job center and this incubators idea,” Stafford said.
“A lot of things will need to come together, but it looks like the potential is there to help out everyone involved,” Stafford said.