January 4, 2014 10:10:40 PM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Those who oversee the Columbus-Lowndes County Port say they face a good news/bad news scenario.
The good: The six industries operating at the port pay more than $1 million in taxes to the city of Columbus and Lowndes County, and about $350,000 to the port authority, each year.
The bad: They're running out of land.
In all, the port is made up of about 265 acres along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Roughly 120 acres are currently occupied. Biofuel manufacturer KiOR owns 30 acres and is poised to purchase another 30-acre parcel for a second plant. If that happens, only 95 available acres will be left.
Such is the price of progress, port authority director John Hardy said.
Exploring options for expansion is a priority for the authority. The problem is finding land not in a floodway or floodplain. Until then, the authority's short-term goal is to do the most with what it has now.
"We want to utilize all the available space we have that could be developed with industry," Hardy said. "We want to improve our infrastructure...(but) our main goal is to acquire additional property we can develop in the future and offer bigger sites on the waterway. We're working on that."
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.