Bastrop Mayor Betty Alford-Olive said the city is “still strongly considering” an alternative location for the new industrial park after the first site had to be abandoned.
In August 2010 the city received $1.8 million in grant funds through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA), with Louisiana Economic Development (LED) providing $350,000 in matching funds for a new industrial park, initially planned to be located on a ribbon of land south of city limits on U.S. 165.
The Bastrop Board of Aldermen approved a resolution authorizing Alford-Olive to renew the city’s contract with the state to receive the LED funds in a special called meeting Tuesday.
“We are a year and a half into this process,” Alford-Olive told the aldermen. “Time is of the essence and we need to move forward.”
The U.S. 165 property turned out to be unfeasible, she said, because of unexpected pipelines crossing beneath it and the time it would take to annex the property. The site now under consideration comprises 80-85 acres within city limits, adjacent to the current Coulter Industrial Park. Last year, the aldermen approved a contract with Ardaman & Associates Inc. to conduct soil testing at the prospective site.
“We have been soil testing and doing other analyses, and we have talked to LED about our plans,” said Alford-Olive. “We have to look at what’s available, and all of the indicators is that this site seems to be the most feasible.”
An industrial park requires roughly 100 acres of available land. Alford-Olive said no other site this large has been located within city limits, while a site outside the city would require annexation – a potentially long process and time the the city does not have to develop the park.
Alford-Olive said the “amenities that are already present” at the current industrial park also make the adjacent property more attractive, including a wastewater pre-treatment lagoon system for which the city received a $1 million grant to build last year. The pre-treatment plant will serve the unique needs of the DG Foods poultry processing plant when complete. Whether or not it could attract other industries, she said, depends on the type of industry.
One of the downsides to the Coulter Industrial Park area has been the tricky intersection at Naff and Collinston roads, which has been difficult for 18-wheelers coming in and out of the park to negotiate. Alford-Olive said the city and Denmon Engineering have been working on the problem with the state Department of Transportation and Development. An announcement about straightening out the intersection could come from the DOTD as soon as this month’s regular meeting of the mayor and aldermen April 12.
Page 2 of 2 - “We have to be forward-thinking,” said Alford-Olive. “Down the road, we can continue to look for alternative sites.”