HOUSTON – Things are happening in business and industrial development and Chickasaw County economic developer Josh West said he hopes to formally announce a major project soon.
Speaking at the Chickasaw Development Foundation annual banquet, West, Regional Economic Developer for Pontotoc, Union and Chickasaw counties, said he is working with TVA to bring a 35-acre solar farm to Chickasaw County.
“This solar project is taking shape and we could see something happen with it very soon,” said West. “There are a lot of tax incentives to bring this industry here and Chickasaw County is in the running.
“It would be TVA’s first project of this type in Mississippi,” said West. “I am hesitant to say much more, but the paperwork has been signed and if the details fall into place, it will happen.”
West thanked elected officials for being patient with his work.
“These projects don’t happen overnight and everyone has been asking what we are doing at the Hopewell (Industrial Park) Megasite,” said West. “Well, actually we have been doing a lot.
“We’ve gotten all the property under option for eight years,” he added. “We’ve done the engineering, the environmentals and we are marketing it every day.”
West said the Hopewell Megasite has the potential to be the third largest rail-site in the region and that has gotten the attention of developers across the Southeast and especially TVA.
“That type of site attracts a big user of rail,” said West, “and while those industrial clients are not easy to come by, they are out there and we are seeking them diligently.”
The Hopewell site is located on 959 acres between Okolona and Egypt and is adjacent to the Kansas City Southern Railway, straddles U.S. Hwy. 45 Alternate and is 12.5 miles from the Aberdeen port of the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway.
The megasite has electricity from the Egypt substation that is linked to Okolona. The Tennessee Valley Authority has already agreed to partner for due diligence to complete preparation of the site.
It has been repeatedly stated a large employer would draw workers from across the county with many living in Houston, Houlka and Woodland.
West also pointed to improvements in the Houston fire loop that supplies water to factories and the industrial park north of Houston.
“Helping existing industry with problems is another one of the things we do,” said West. “We have scheduled to meet with every industry in this community twice a year to discuss their concerns.
“In one of those meeting we found water concerns were a problem for insurance companies working with those factories and companies north of town,” said West. “The City of Houston is working to get a $2.1 million grant from the federal government that would revamp the system and would solve this problem.”
West urged the crowd to be patient and to contact him with any ideas for new industry or industrial needs for Chickasaw County.