May 3, 2011 12:51:00 PM
Clearing the way for industrial growth, Lowndes County supervisors agreed Monday to significantly expand the region''s industrial aerospace park at a cost of $6.4 million.
Supervisors voted unanimously Monday morning to buy 857 acres to the west of the Golden Triangle Regional Airport for $7,500 per acre, which will be covered by a rural development loan approved by the state. The deal will also give Lowndes County control of another 701 acres for a total addition of 1,558 acres, which will increase the aerospace park by about 22 percent to roughly 6,600 acres.
Columbus-Lowndes Development Link CEO Joe Higgins said his organization is already working on three park projects that could bring 800 jobs to the region.
"We just need the land," he added.
Now that he has the land, with another 700 acres expected to be added in a few weeks, Higgins said the next step is to finish installing the new $7.5 million water and sewage system.
The system will likely take up to a year and a half unless a tenant is found sooner, in which case the work would be expedited, Higgins said.
The aerospace park, which has already attracted several industrial giants including Paccar and American Eurocopter, has been in the works for years but is just now reaching completion.
"Slowly but surely, we''re getting it done," Higgins said.