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|Vidalia to buy 35 acres for port|
The City of Vidalia can now make use of $1.1 million in state capital outlay funds in connection with the Vidalia port.
Mayor Hyram Copeland said $420,000 of the money will be used to buy 35 acres of land from David Rountree for the Vidalia Industrial Park, located near the port site.
That land will be used for barges to load and unload for construction of the port and as a staging area to store the dirt that will be used to build the port.
Remaining funds will be used for future port construction.
"This is a dream come true," Copeland said. "This is something we have been working on for 18 years. To bring in industry you have to have a means to ship goods and without a port, we don't. The river can be your best friend or worst enemy, but in this case, it's a major asset. The end result will be the state of the art port that will give us the opportunity to recruit future industries that will benefit the entire Miss-Lou."
Copeland said the state capital outlay money was actually acquired by former state legislator Bryant Hammett when he was in office. The money could not be used at that time because it had to go toward the industrial park.
Concordia Economic & Industrial Development District Executive Director Heather Malone said this phase of work is actually 1B. The first phase was road work from Hwy. 131 to the port.
Copeland and Malone said the city is currently working with a business prospect that will locate in the industrial park.
"This is a wonderful way to start the year," Malone said. "We are so excited to actually be at this point. Everyone has worked so hard on this project and it's a reality now. We'll continue to seek additional funds for our overall master plan.
"We will have a rail spur going to the industrial port tenants where they will be able to load directly onto a rail car and not have to use trucks."
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