Masland prepares for more growth

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
With each passing year, Masland Carpet continues to expand its facility in Atmore.
Monday night, officials with The Dixie Group, the carpet manufacturer's parent company, approached the council with a request for a tax abatement – a stay of paying a tax for a short or long term, for a total or percentage of the tax. In this case, the request was an abatement of state and local noneducational property taxes extension for a period of 10 years.
"Masland is going to expand its equipment by $8,483,000 and offer up to five new jobs," Marshall Rogers, executive director for the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, said.
According to The Dixie Group's technical director Mike Whitener, the "highlight" of Masland's equipment expansion will be a tile range to produce carpet tile.
"The tile machine is the main addition to our equipment," Whitener said. "A lot of corporate customers are going to tile carpet."
Whitener also said a $2.7 million in tufting equipment, which is like a big sewing machine, for producing carpet. He also said Masland would be investing in recycling equipment as well, in hopes of cutting down on waste that is hauled to landfills.
Rogers added that the five additional jobs announced could be doubled to 10 in the future.
After hearing the request, the council unanimously approved Masland's request.
Mayor Howard Shell also announced to The Dixie Group executive that S.A. Graham was the lowest bidder at about $1.8 million for work on the Atmore Industrial Park access road. He said the road will give trucks access to Jacks Springs road without having to go through downtown and other parts of Atmore.
"It will give you easier access to the interstate," Shell said. "So when you get that tile machine you won't have far to go."
The council also issued a liquor license to Whistle Stop Grill owner Deedra and Joey Kelley, who presented the aspects of their restaurant to the council prior to their vote. Councilman John Garrard refrained from voting after expressing his displeasure for a restaurant serving alcohol in downtown Atmore.
"I can not with good conscience vote yes," Garrard said. "I've agonized about this."
Council members were concerned that at first that the restaurant was going to have a "sit down" bar where patrons could be served alcohol. Joey Kelley quickly cleared that suspicion up.
"It's going to be like Gerlach's," he said. "There will be no bar, just a service bar. The drinks will have to be brought to the tables."
In other business, the council:

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