By PAUL SIMS
A new conceptual plan for the Cornerstone Industrial Park on the west side of Starkville will help in marking Starkville to industrial prospects, economic development officials say.
The Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority board of directors reviewed a conceptual master plan of the 222-acre Cornerstone Industrial Park, located at the southwest corner of Starkville near George M. Bryan Airport and the interchange between highways 12 and 25.
When prospects look at property in the park, “it will help them visualize size, location and orientation of the type of facility” they’re considering – everything from advanced manufacturing to additional research facilities, primarily focused on but not limited to the aerospace field, Maynard said. “It’s an additional marketing tool.”
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is currently the park’s only occupant.
Plan to help lower company’s utility costs moves forward
A local business sought a solution to higher utility rates than sister facilities in other states, and economic developers worked to find the right plan.
Officials with the OCEDA, Starkville Electric Department, Tennessee Valley Authority, City of Starkville, North Mississippi Industrial Development Association and the Mississippi Development Authority met with personnel at Flexsteel.
“Their concerns were that their utility rates were higher in Starkville than their sister plants in Georgia and Arkansas,” and this could eliminate the local plant from possible expansion, said Greater Starkville Development Partnership President and CEO Jon Maynard.
At the Flexsteel plant, each of the buildings are metered separately, and their usage at each of the meters did not qualify them for discounts from TVA and SED, Maynard said.
“The solution to this is to go to a single meter for two largest buildings and their combined usage would allow for discounted rates,” he said.
There is a cost to the needed upgrades organizations involved negotiated a plan to help with the expense.
On Monday night, the OCEDA Board ratified a Friday phone poll which authorized the payment of not more than $52,378 to SED to aggregate – or bring together – the meters at Flexsteel to help reduce their overall utility costs.
“This is a clear-cut case in what local” economic development organizations “should be doing for existing businesses and that is finding innovative ways for businesses to enhance their bottom lines,” Maynard said.
“Companies like Flexsteel have to compete internally for plant enhancements and expansion projects. The local community plays an integral role in adding value to the business and its employees. Without these plant enhancements and expansion projects, the communities stand to lose the businesses altogether,” he said.
SED officials expect the single meter will be online by Dec. 1.