Once a project that would extend sewer lines into the I-20 industrial park hopefully gets underway later this year, the sky could be the limit for the prospective industrial property.
Sewer would be extended into areas of Belle Meade, Dallas Drive, and along Hwy. 150, including the industrial park around the Advance Auto Parts distribution center. Before construction can begin, however, county officials must still receive compliance from some local property owners.
"We're in the process of getting landowners to sign easements in order to construct the sewer line and run the cable across people's property," said Forward McDuffie Executive Director Don Powers. "There's a permanent easement for the sewer line itself, and then there's also a construction easement that has to be signed, but that's only temporary."
Once those are all completed, construction on the sewer lines can begin.
Mr. Powers estimated that construction should be done between early and mid 2005.
"It's running behind. ... If we're lucky, we'll get started this year," he said.
Once sewer is in place, Mr. Powers said that the industrial park should instantly become more attractive to prospective buyers.
"People won't even get serious about tracks of land if you say, 'We promise you sewer's going to be there.' They want to see the manholes and know the services are there before they commit to coming," he said. "The most attractive way to market that property out there is to have sewer in place. From the industrial side, you won't sell that unless you've got it out there."
At last month's city and county retreat in Athens, Mr. Powers and other local officials noted that the park still appeared somewhat incomplete, and that that was one of the things holding it back. Mr. Powers has since reiterated that point, stressing that work needs to be completed on the park before it can start to interest buyers.
"It's not finished," he said. "People want a site that's finished; they want the entrance road paved; they want signs and a good flat piece of property. ... Typically, the sites that have all these elements in place will be the more favorable sites."