Regional partners join forces at MDA
by Paige Rentz
prentz@annistonstar.com
Apr 24, 2013 | 4433 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Crews work on the new Alagasco building today on Pappy Dunn Boulevard at McClellan. The city of Anniston has lined up other local governments and institutions to help improve infrastructure and landscaping in the area to attract more industry. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Crews work on the new Alagasco building today on Pappy Dunn Boulevard at McClellan. The city of Anniston has lined up other local governments and institutions to help improve infrastructure and landscaping in the area to attract more industry. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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A group of regional leaders met at McClellan on Wednesday to announce a joint effort to draw jobs to the region.

A dozen local governments and institutions have signed onto a regional compact to push along infrastructure projects at McClellan and make its industrial and research park more attractive to future job-creating tenants.

“Collectively, we’re not talking about big dollars,” said Anniston City Councilman Jay Jenkins in announcing the $8 million project, for which the local cost is $1.76 million. “What’s big about this day is we’re all here together.”

The regional compact is comprised of local governments including Anniston, Jacksonville, Piedmont, Weaver, Ohatchee, Hobson City and Calhoun County and institutions including the McClellan Development Authority, the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, the Calhoun County Economic Development Council, Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College. Oxford has not officially signed onto the compact, but Mayor Leon Smith has expressed an openness to the idea.

Jenkins said he hoped that within a month the partner governments would be able to meet and pass resolutions to set the specific monetary commitments to the project. He said it was important to move quickly because grant deadlines mean the money has to be committed by October.

County Commissioner TIm Hodges stressed the importance of regionalism when looking at McClellan, something he said should not be looked at as the responsibility of one city.

“The bigger story to me is not what we can do here at McClellan,” Hodges said. “We proved we can come together as a group and check our egos at the door to get this job done because it’s going to benefit everybody.”

The members of the compact have signed on to help push along the completion of Pappy Dunn Boulevard, the main entrance to the industrial park, and Iron Mountain Road to Alabama 21. Additional work will include utilities, signage and landscaping for the area.

Phil Webb, chairman of the McClellan Development Authority, spoke to the group about the coming project.

“We’ve got work to do,” Webb said. “We will succeed, and we will make this county even better.”

Members of the MDA met for its quarterly meeting just before the press conference. During the meeting, Webb stressed the importance of cleaning up the area around Pappy Dunn Boulevard.

During its meeting, the MDA took action to move the work at the industrial park forward. Members awarded a nearly $61,000 contract to 4Site Incorporated to complete preliminary engineering work for Pappy Dunn Boulevard. 4Site will prepare construction documents to complete work for the entire length of Pappy Dunn Boulevard as well as additional work for signs, landscaping and other improvements.

In addition, the authority awarded a nearly $199,000 contract to Holmes Excavation Inc. of Munford to clear and prepare 57 acres at the park for development. The company’s bid includes such work as clearing and grading the land, arranging for location of utilities, establishing temporary erosion and sediment control, and seeding and fertilizing the property for grass.

Webb also directed Robin Scott, executive director of the MDA, to solicit bids for demolition and clean-up of a lot on Pappy Dunn Boulevard housing a number of run-down buildings and protected by a rusty, overgrown fence. Members discussed adding the demolition there in order to have a clean, cleared corridor down the entire length of Pappy Dunn Boulevard.

“When you take a drive down there,” Webb said, “you’ll see how important it is.”

In other business, the authority:

• Approved a $14,496 annual lease for tractors and other equipment with John Deere. The lease proposal includes two tractors with enclosed cabs, a front loader, grapple hook, and two 15-foot bat-wing bush hogs. With the trade-in of some existing equipment, the lease will be reduced to $9,200.

• Approved a number of revisions to the fiscal year 2013 budget.

• Approved the transfer of property to the city of Anniston. The parcel includes a former rail line that once served Fort McClellan. The city requested the transfer earlier this month as part of plans to extend the Ladiga Trail. The railroad spur to be transferred extends from the main rail line to Alabama 21.

Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.

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