Are you for armed guards at schools?|
Story Archives: Interest building in Vidalia port
- 2013 - 290 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|Interest building in Vidalia port|
Two key issues concerning Vidalia's proposed $15 million port facility were discussed and resolved with the Corps of Engineers during a recent meeting, said Mayor Hyram Copeland.
In the meantime, Copeland said interest in the facility is growing. He said he and city officials "have been talking with a group in the parish interested in building a rice mill and this port will be a tremendous benefit to them."
The port will be located on 40 acres off Hwy. 131 on Whitehall Plantation across from the city's existing 240-acre industrial complex.
Copeland said the city has on hand $1.2 million in grant funds for the port authorized several years ago from the Economic Development Authority. He said the entire $15-million project will be financed through local, state and federal funds.
The mayor recently met with Tanner Johnson and T. Bradley Keith of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office, Adam Terry of Congressman Rodney Alexander's office and Corps' officials at the Bryant O. Hammett Convention Center in Vidalia. Also at the meeting, said Copeland, was Heather Lanius Malone, Director of the Concordia Economic & Industrial Development District, board chairman Richard Young and Sen. Neil Riser.
"This was one of the most productive meetings we've ever had," said Copeland. He said two primary issues were discussed -- a dike at the facility and dredging.
"This will be a slackwater port," said Copeland, "where we'll have loading and unloading apparatus to receive and to ship. The port will be out of the flow of the river itself and it will be like a horseshoe -- a barge will come in to get out of the flow of the river. There is a dike there like a rock quarry to keep the river from washing out in certain areas. There was some questions about that and about dredging since there may be some periodic dredging required. We answered all of the questions they had."
The city has already applied for a Section 404 permit from the Corps, which should take about seven to 10 months, said Copeland. The federal permit is required for the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters.
"A main objective is to build a rail spur that will go from the existing industrial complex to the port," said Copeland. "The companies in the industrial complex will only have to put their product on a rail car, unload and send that rail car back to the plant without ever putting their product on a truck."
He said the port "will open a door for bringing new industries and will help the agricultural industry in Concordia. We are constantly getting calls from various industries inquiring about the port itself."
Malone said that much of the job creation with the port facility will come from the businesses "that expand or relocate due to the port."
She said that consideration is being given to hiring a port manager or a management company to handle operations. She said the port will generate some income.
"It's my understanding that there will be a fee based on tonnage coming in or out of the port," she said. "Some ports lease out some of their land for businesses to relocate. So we will likely be looking at warehousing and storage fees."
Copeland said he was "disappointed" that public bodies in Natchez recently expressed concerns over Vidalia's port. Those entities included the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the Natchez Board of Aldermen and the Natchez Port Commission.
"I always said that what's good for Vidalia is good for this entire Miss-Lou region," said Copeland. "We can co-exist with a Natchez port facility and prime examples are the ports at Tallulah and Lake Providence in Louisiana across the river from Vicksburg in Mississippi. Those three ports all co-exist together."
He said the Vidalia port "will open the door for new industries," which will be a source of jobs and of economic benefit "to the entire region on both sides of the river."
|Frank Morris Murder Series|