GSDP, MSU take industrial park stance

Austin Montgomery
City Reporter

The Greater Starkville Development Partnership Board of Directors will send a resolution to the Starkville Board of Aldermen in support of the largest industrial park site option.

Mississippi State University officials are also backing the option.

The resolution backs the GTR LINK's first option to develop nearly 400 acres north of the Highway 389 and Highway 82 interchange into an industrial park. The Stanley, Strange, Waldrop property would cost around $30 million to acquire and add all needed improvements to the site, according to development officials.

"This site was identified by GTR LINK [officials] as the 'best site' and 'best value' for industrial manufacturing in Starkville during the work sessions on park options," the GSDP resolution said.

Around $10 million from the total cost would be needed to extend natural gas lines to the site and remove any Native American cultural artifacts. Development officials previously said 4-County Electric would commit to building a $4 million, 60-megawatt substation at the location.

The scope of Native American artifacts at the site remains unclear, an issue that could cause costs to ballon. But the site offered greater connectivity due to the proximity of the site and access to the highway at an interchange point, the resolution said.

The site—approximately 384 acres—would include 13 individual lots totaling around 192 acres, 28.3 acres for a future building, a 6-acre site for the planned substation and 157.3 acres for a large industrial future expansion option.

"We must look at this as an investment, not an expense," GSDP Board Chairman Michelle Amos said in the emailed resolution. "The addition of industry helps strengthen our tax base, creating a foundation beyond rooftops. In the long term, this helps create additional tax dollars for the infrastructure needs—and more—that can't be maintained on rooftops alone."

City leaders are set to vote on selecting a site on May 17. County supervisors preliminarily offered $7 million toward the largest site on May 2, which is contingent on aldermen making the same commitment.

MSU's Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw issued a statement of support to usher in industrial development to the area.

“Fortunately, we are moving forward," Shaw said in the statement. "The high-profile site on Highway 82 will offer regional, national, and international companies a marquee location with unmatched access to four-lane roads, the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. It is also clear that adding the necessary infrastructure here will be easier. The site also provides room for future expansion — an important consideration as the city, county, and university continue to grow."

The resolution will be forwarded to Mayor Parker Wiseman and aldermen.