County eyeing industrial park

By Staff
Jason Cannon, FCT Publisher
In the county's latest effort to attract major industry, the Franklin County commission voted Monday to look into the purchase of 190 acres of land for an industrial park.
The county is currently looking at payment plans and options, to finance the $627,000 investment and could have a decision by its next meeting, Dec. 11.
The Alabama Department of Transportation has talked with county industrial board about using a portion of the property to house an office in Franklin County, something Mitch Mays, executive director of the Franklin County Development Authority, said could mean big things for the county.
"If the DOT puts an office there, they'll want some road improvements, like turn lanes and widening the road," he said. "All that would be done on a state level. It wouldn't cost the county anything, but that's something that would benefit the whole industrial park. It makes the whole package more attractive."
Commissioners unanimously voted to purchase the land on the condition that the state commits to using a portion of the land. If the state does not agree to use the land, then the county still has the option to purchase the property until Feb. 20.
The land, located on Highway 243, is adjacent to the Russellville Industrial Park and the Russellville Municipal Airport, which Mays listed as more selling points.
"A lot of your major companies have corporate jets," he said. "I would think that kind of access to an airport would be a huge selling point."
Aside from its access to the airport, Mays said the land is open, relatively flat and ready for any utilities any company might need.
And, while the proposed new park sits adjacent to Russellville's Industrial Park, Mays said it is in no way in competition with the city.
"I've been contacted in the past by major companies looking for a large tract of land, which we just didn't have," he said. "Some of them needed 50 acres or more."
Mays said if the county's new park goes through, the county's target would be companies looking for plots of land larger than what the city's industrial park may be able to offer.
"If we've got a company needing 20 acres of land, we're going to show them the Russellville Industrial Park," Mays said. "That's best suited for them. What we're wanting to do is be able to attract businesses that we didn't have the space to attract previously."