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Plan discussed for building a regional industrial park

Preliminary discussions regarding a regional industrial park have resurfaced among leaders in multiple local counties.

Warren County Development Authority Secretary O.B. McCorkle organized a meeting Aug. 3 that she said was just to determine whether there would be interest in an industrial park that would serve industries that don't exist in the region.

McCorkle said the process is in its early stages, and she didn't want to reveal all of the counties that were participating.

McCorkle said no potential sites have been identified and no specific industries have been targeted, but McDuffie County Commission chairman Charles Newton suggested the possibility of bringing in a car manufacturer. Newton said one idea on the table was a place for industries that would need more than 1,000 acres.

"(It's) just another way to keep the CSRA on the forefront as industries look to relocate," said Newton, who left Wednesday's county commission meeting early to get to the meeting in Warrenton. "You don't get a GM or a Chrysler or a Hyundai or those type of things every day, but if you don't prepare yourself for it, you definitely won't get it."

It's not the first time that the idea of a regional industrial park has been discussed in the last several years. But McDuffie County Development Authority Chairman Riley Stamey, who was not a part of the meeting, said those plans have rarely gotten off the ground.

Perhaps the closest it came to reality was in 2008, when a site was identified in the Camak area near the end of Mesena Road. Newton said plans for sewer and water had been mapped out, but the project was scrapped when another company proposed a new rock quarry at that location.

Stamey said plenty of reasonably priced, open land in Warren County does offer the advantages of a railroad, access to water, and proximity to the interstate that would be vital for a successful industrial park. In the end, though, all of those things won't matter without the initial funding.

"We just need a few billion dollars to make it work," Stamey said. "That's the big question."

Web posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011

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