For many, the history of Lowndes County Industrial Park begins with the arrival of Severstal, the steel plant now known as Steel Dynamics, Inc., in the mid-2000s.
But the park, now home to dozens of industries, is much older than that.
And so is some of its infrastructure.
“Some of the things out there date back to the 1970s,” Lowndes County Administrator Ralph Billinglsey said. “A lot of the infrastructure out there really needed work.”
To address that, supervisors acting on a request by the Lowndes County Industrial Development Authority, have issued $3.55 million in bonds for five projects at the park.
“Everything will be in pretty good shape out there once we get this work done,” Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders said.
One of the most pressing needs, said Sanders, was replacing an old water line at the site.
“There were two things we wanted to do with it,” Sanders said. “The old line had never been all the way completed, so we’ll do that. What was put in were plastic pipes, which needed to be replaced.”
Sanders said the cost of that project is $940,000.
Other projects covered in the bonds include $1,285,000 for paving and improvements on Charleigh Ford Road, repainting of rusted water tanks ($600,000), a waste water treatment upgrade ($500,000) and a new pump station near Steel Dynamics ($150,000).
All the work covered in the bonds is for tax-exempt items – things owned by the county rather than the industries located at the industrial park.
“We were able to get a really good rate, 2.9 percent from Trustmark Bank,” Billinglsey said. “So we feel really good about how the bonds came together.
“There’s no doubt the work was needed,” he added.
If ultimately validated, the county will repay the bonded debt over 12 years. Citizens have until 9 a.m. May 21 to file written objections to the bonds, which will be considered during a validation hearing scheduled for that time in Clay County Chancery Court.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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