"We're excited to break ground on this new venture," said Dave Quinn, executive director of the Levelland Economic Development Corporation, during the groundbreaking. "We've used the tagline 'Progressive on Purpose' here in Levelland for quite some time, and this is the epitome of our work - not only for our city, but for the entire West Texas region."
The entire rail portion, which includes a 300-acre development for new businesses, is expected to be complete in 2010. The project is receiving $3.3 million in federal stimulus funds along with $1.5 million of the LEDC's cash reserves. The remaining $3.8 million comes in the form of a loan through bonds sold by the city and repaid with LEDC sales tax revenues and Tax Increment Financing District Funds.
"We are thankful to have received this $3.3 million in stimulus funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act," said Elgin Conner, LEDC chairman. "This is one of the nation's largest grants in size and scope. And that says a lot for a town our size to receive recognition for a project such as this. Obviously our government sees the potential we have for growth - and we've only just begun."
Once complete, the industrial rail park is expected to create 1,000 jobs and $100 million in new capital investment over its first 10 years. Four new businesses have already expressed interest in relocating to Levelland once the rail park is complete.
"We're proud the public can now see evidence of the time and effort put in by our engineers, public officials and utility providers," Conner said. "Chi Energy Inc. has been relocating flow lines and tank batteries, Xcel and Lamb County Electric are working with overhead power lines, while Atmos and Lubbock Gas gathering will move 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 132-pound rail and concrete crossties that will create the rail infrastructure of the industrial rail park. Aside from the rail line, the project also will include the addition of water, sewer and street improvements.
Upon completion, the industrial rail park will have 18 total lots, ranging in size from two to 20 acres. Each lot, Quinn explained, will have direct access to the rail line.