Wellspring tops list of supervisors' wants

BY LEESHA FAULKNER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Lee County Supervisors want to see the state Legislature fund the Wellspring project this session.

“We need it,” said supervisors President Phil Morgan of District 1. “We need the jobs.”

A funding bill in 2006 received some legislative support, but it didn't materialize. Opponents have argued for using state money only when an industry commits to a particular site.

The project is located in Blue Springs and is part of the PUL Alliance – Pontotoc, Union and Lee Counties. Many see Wellspring as a balm for jobs being lost as the furniture industry moves toward the Far East and cheaper labor.

“We need manufacturing jobs,” said Supervisor Bobby G. Smith of District 2 and vice president of the Board of Supervisors. “Our people can work at these jobs and make a good living.”

Recently permits were filed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District Office and the state Department of Environmental Quality for work planned in a part of Union County that rests in the 1,700-acre industrial megasite on U.S. 78 near Blue Springs.

The PUL Alliance made application with the Corps to fill in about 13.8 acres of wetlands, 14,335 feet of streams and 7.8 acres of manmade ponds.

The Alliance will mitigate the filling of those wetlands by restoring a natural buffer of trees, shrubs and grasses along the Caldwell Creek drainage basin just west of the project site.

According to the notice, the proposed construction includes:

- Three manufacturing buildings totaling 6 million square feet, about 40 acres of paved parking lots, 182 acres of storage yard, associated out buildings, electrical substations and pump stations.

- Construction of a new five-lane frontage road along U.S. 78, with the northern boundary of the megasite to be constructed to provide access to the facility, and an associated three-lane loop road to provide internal access throughout the site.

- A new rail spur that would enter the site from U.S. 78 and tie into a mainline railroad and an associated rail yard, as well as three storm water detention ponds.

Contact Daily Journal county-courts reporter
Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or e-mail her
at leesha.faulkner@djournal.com.