Pontotoc County considering industrial site ownership

By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress

Pontotoc – County supervisors are exploring the possibility of assuming the city of Pontotoc’s debt on ownership and further development of the 100-acre industrial park site on Cherry Creek Road.
The move would allow the city to spearhead efforts to develop a new home for the WIN Job Center and manufacturing incubators.
Board of supervisors president Wayne Stokes said while the county is in the discussion phase, he favors the idea so the county can move forward on developing the site.
Both the county and the city agreed to purchase the property in the first quarter of 2010, and the land has been cleared and grubbed since then.
Randy Kelley, executive director of the Three Rivers Planning and Development District, suggested to the supervisors that they assume the responsibility of the site and let the city buy the old Ram Golf building for the WIN Job Center as well as for an industrial incubator.
“I realize the county and the city can’t do both of these projects together,” Stokes said.
Stokes said, while no prospect has announced a move onto the site, the key to the industrial development is “being as prepared as we can. It is important because we want and deserve some suppliers for Toyota here in Pontotoc County.”
Toyota’s Blue Springs manufacturing plant is in nearby Union County.
“As things progress, there are going to be more looking at this site and we need to be ready when they come,” Stokes said.
However, Stokes was quick to point out that the site wasn’t just for Toyota suppliers.
“Any industry that is looking for a place to call home can come to this site and get going,” he said.
What has made the site favorable, Stokes said, is the infrastructure already in place.
“There are places all over Pontotoc County where we could house industry but there isn’t any infrastructure,” he said. “It takes so much money to put in water and sewer. Gas and power are not a big issue out in the county, but water and sewer is.”
Stokes also said the site is ideal because of the major highway that will soon be less than a quarter mile from it.
“When Highway 15 gets four-laned it will be close at hand,” he said.
Stokes said the board is going to take one step at a time, “once we see if this is what the city really wants.”
Estimates are running more than $350,000 to level and clear the site and to make it more attractive as an industrial site.
If the board does assume responsibility for the site, it can build the cost into next year’s budget.