Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Levelland sets sights, lines for West Texas big business

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Levelland sets sights, lines for West Texas big business | Railway Track & Structures

Despite the national meager economic outlook, Levelland, Texas is on the right track for big business. Literally. After voting unanimously just over one year ago to commit $1.5 million to build an Industrial Rail Park in the 12,866-population town, the Levelland Economic Development Corporation's vision has begun to be realized.

And, the $8.6-million, 300-acre Levelland Industrial Rail Park project will be officially recognized with a groundbreaking Thursday, Nov. 19.

"We've used a tagline, ‘Progressive on Purpose," here in Levelland for quite some time," said Dave Quinn, executive director of Levelland's economic development. "This is the epitome of our work. We are truly excited about this project and what it means not only to the people of our city; but to the entire West Texas region."

While dirt work begins in early November, the entire rail portion is expected to be completed by end of March 2010. And, this is just the start of phase 1 - which will cost $4.5 million, including the EDC's $1.5 million approved just over a year ago.

Additional funding for the $8.6-million project, granted just this year from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act - and one of the national's largest grants in size and scope - according to Quinn, will allow companies to improve even greater their ability to efficiently distribute products within the High Ground of Texas and globally as additional phases are completed. Industrial expansion sites - already available - will continue to expand with facilities offering both rail and non-rail served sites.

"While over the last several months the rail project has developed mostly behind the scenes, the public can now see evidence of the time and effort put in by our engineers, public officials and utility providers," Quinn said. "Chi Energy Inc. will be relocating flow lines and tank batteries, Xcel and Lamb County Electric will move overhead power lines, while Atmos and Lubbock Gas gathering will be moving underground gas lines."

In coordinated efforts, utility companies also will make way for Railroad Specialties, Inc., out of Littleton Colorado to install more than 21,000 track feet of 134-pound rail and concrete crossties that will create the rail infrastructure of the LIRP. Aside from the rail line, the project also will include the addition of water, sewer and street improvements.

Upon completion, the LIRP will have 18 total tracts, ranging in size from two to 20 acres. Each tract, Quinn explained, will have direct access to the rail line.

Officials will announce their economic forecast - including the number of new jobs potentially created out of the LIRP project - at the groundbreaking Nov. 19.

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