By Brian Knox | Wise County Messenger
The Decatur City Council Monday gave its approval to the city’s Economic Development Corp.’s plan to purchase 162 acres of land southeast of Decatur for development of a business park.
The EDC board approved the purchase of the property from Wise County Consortium LLC at a cost of $12,000 per acre at its meeting two weeks ago.
The purchase required the approval of the council before the sale could move forward.
“We’re anxious to get started,” said Mayor Martin Woodruff, who also serves on the EDC board. “It would give EDC a lot of control over how that property is developed and get the kinds of business tenants that we want in there and the employers.”
EDC Executive Director Thom Lambert said developing the land will be key to bringing in companies.
“A problem we’ve had in the past is we’ve got an industrial park, but none of it is developed,” he said. “You can’t attract a client to an undeveloped tract of land. We tried to bring [prospective companies] in to look at it. They would say, ‘You’ve got a pasture, not an industrial park.’ And you’d try to counter with, ‘Well if you’ll make a deal, we’ll develop it.’ Their response is usually, ‘When you develop it, come back and talk to us.’
“So our plan is to fully develop this 162 acres, and we will have developed, ready to move in land.”
Lambert explained these types of areas are now being called business parks rather than industrial parks as they have been in the past.
“It’s a little softer than industrial park,” Lambert said of the verbiage.
The 162 acres located north of Farm Road 2264 and east of U.S. 81/287 were annexed into the city in July at the request of the Consortium.
In other action, the council approved closure of the 100 block of Main and State streets for two events: on Oct. 29 for Boo Bash and on March 10, 2018, for Paint the Town Purple which includes a 5K and 1 mile fun run.