TCID to purchase, develop 50 acres

Published 7:17 am Monday, April 18, 2005

By by Michele Gerlachh
The Tri-County Industrial Development Authority voted unanimously Thursday to purchase 50-acres of land located along I-65 and Alabama Hwy. 41 in Conecuh County.
In making the decision, the authority declined an offer by South Alabama Gas to purchase the property and building for the authority, holding it for a period of three years before selling it to the Tri-County Industrial Development Authority for the original purchase price.
TCIDA Chairman Yank Lovelace said authority members originally approached South Alabama Gas about an interest-free loan with which to buy the property.
"Their board came back and said they would rather make a capital investment and carry the property as an asset," Lovelace said "They would sell it to us for $175,000 at any time within the three year period."
But TCIDA members said it was time for their relatively new organization to "grow feet."
John Barnett, who represents Monroe County on the board, said he is pleased with the fundraising efforts of the new authority.
"Because of our success, it looks like we'll be able to manage this," he said. "I think it's important that we own the property.
"I appreciate the creative approach South Alabama Gas brought to this," he said. "But I think this organization is going to stand up, walk, and do just fine."
It was the authority's first meeting in its new modular office located on the property. Authority members have agreed to hire an executive director who would lead an effort to market the tri-county area in an effort to recruit new industry to the region, while simultaneously focusing on retention and growth of existing industries. The authority hopes to hire an executive director in June.
The Tri County Industrial Development Authority was formed last year by Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties. Three citizens of each participating county were appointed by their respective county commissions, serve on the board.
Membership includes Lovelace, J.R. Jones and Bob Jones of Escambia County; Barnett, Sam Colvert and Sandy Smith from Monroe County; and Gerald Borden, Lula Palmer and Wiley Salter from Conecuh County.
Last fall, the authority contracted with Funding Solutions to raise funds with which to operate the authority in its first five years. Last week, the organization had raised more than half of the $1.5 million the authority needs to operate in its first five years.8.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox