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Posted on: October 2, 2017

Decatur EDC plans land purchase

By Kristen Tribe | Wise County Messenger


The Decatur Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors Wednesday voted to purchase 162 acres southeast of Decatur for development of a business park.


The property, north of Farm Road 2264 and east of U.S. 81/287, is owned by Wise County Consortium LLC and was annexed by the city in July, following a voluntary annexation request presented by Jody Adams on behalf of the Consortium.


The land is zoned heavy industrial and borders the Landmark Industrial Park. The EDC will pay $12,000 per acre.


EDC Executive Director Thom Lambert said a similar project was previously attempted with Landmark, but it was never developed.


“But it’s still a goal to have something that’s available,” he said. “I see a lot of prospects come through here, but we don’t even talk to them because we don’t have a place to put them.


“I’ve been in this business about 40 years, and everybody’s got a pasture,” he said.


Lambert said this acreage “will be completely done” and fully served with water, sewer, electricity and street lights.


“It will be fully engineered, ready to go,” he said.


Lambert said they have a “good client prospect to be our anchor, and if we get all this done, we’ll be able to make an announcement before too long.”


Mayor Martin Woodruff, who has served on the EDC board 16 years, said there are two schools of thought on how cities should develop industrial property.


“One is you encourage private landowners to develop business parks, but you don’t assume any of the risk that might be associated with the ownership of the development,” he said. “We took that approach, and it didn’t work out satisfactorily.


“With this approach, we’re going to acquire the property and make sure the kind of infrastructure is in place that we feel is needed in order to attract the kinds of business clients, employer clients, that are needed for this community,” he said.


Woodruff acknowledged the risk but said it was worth it because the move should help provide more local jobs and increase the tax base.


“I’m fully ready to take or try this approach,” he said. “I’m thinking this is really what we need to do.”


Board President Jason Wren echoed Woodruff’s comments, and board member Jay Davidson noted since the new property is contiguous with Landmark, “and if and when things change, we might could do something with Landmark, too.”


Lambert told the Messenger the EDC is “not upset with Landmark. They just weren’t a developer. We love them as a corporate citizen.”


Woodruff made a motion to purchase the 162-acre tract, and Davidson gave it a second. It passed unanimously.


The action will be presented in October to Decatur City Council for final approval.


View original Wise County Messenger Article.

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