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Friday, September 04, 2009

Georgia industrial park, rail spur to create jobs

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An area that had emanated objectionable odors could produce the sweet smell of commercial success along Bill Carruth Parkway, according to the Times-Georgian in Carrolton, Ga. Paulding's Board of Commissioners voted last week to transfer about 130 acres formerly used as sewage treatment plant spray fields to the Paulding County Industrial Building Authority, which will plan, design, construct and market an industrial park. The site across from the Water System building on the parkway is served by rail, and "rail spur projects have done well," said Blake Swafford, director of both the IBA and Paulding County Regional Airport.

Swafford said county officials have been meeting with Norfolk Southern representatives for four months and that the railroad company has developed a concept plan for the site.

"They think it's highly marketable," said Swafford. Fuel prices affect trucking costs, so "a lot of heavy industry is going to rail," he said.

With a permit for sewer plant treated discharge into streams, the spray fields will no longer be needed.

"Today there's no inventory of rail access in the county," said Swafford, who praised the efforts of the county attorney, Water System and county administrator (Mike Jones). Commission Chairman David Austin said Jones in the past week had been contacted by a potential industrial park business.

The park "is a fantastic opportunity to put high-paying jobs in Paulding County," said Jones at the commission's Aug. 25 work session. "We're excited about the opportunity. This is one-of-a-kind in Paulding County."

Jones said the corridor is "one of the busiest rail sections between Atlanta and Chattanooga." He said he was meeting several days later with a "large-scale refrigeration company that needs rail access.

One business might have primary access to the rail, while other companies in the park could also load off and on from railroad cars.

More will be known when the IBA and Norfolk Southern develop plan details.

In a related matter, the board amended its contract with Heath and Lineback engineering firm to add $134,140, bringing the total contract amount to $330,405 for the widening and reconstruction of the parkway to accommodate the rail spur project. Transportation Department Director Scott Greene said there would be economy of savings by continuing the four-laning project at the hospital site near U.S. 278 southward. With the new project comes "the opportunity to build another bridge," he said.

Austin said 1.4 miles of four lanes would then serve both the medical facilities and the industrial park.

Jones said the county would be reimbursed for all expenses when the industrial park land is sold.

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