Cedartown Development Authority, March 2018

The Cedartown Development Authority gathered for their latest meeting on March 1. (Kevin Myrick/SJ)

The Cedartown Development Authority got a chance to talk about some good news received in past weeks about a piece of property they look to improve in hopes of attracting industrial expansion off the Cedartown bypass on Highway 27.

The purchase of the York property allowed for the expansion of the industrial park across Davis Road in the future, and already members of Cedartown’s Development Authority are thinking ahead to the future about how they might fill those parcels.

CDA chair Jamie Morris was glad to hear the news the city’s request from the Appalachian Regional Commission was being approved to the tune of $552,000 to allow for improvements to the site needed to make it more attractive to those seeking to find a new home for their manufacturing facility. The city will invest now in laying water and sewer lines to the site, along with some brush clearing work and will cut in some roadways to make the site easier to access when Cedartown City Manager Bill Fann or Development Authority of Polk County President Missy Kendrick show off the site to those who might want to build on a parcel.

Cedartown’s match for the project comes out to $236,000, Fann said.

The 200+ acre property was snapped up in late 2016 by the city, and since then Georgia Power provided design work for a potential layout used to show off how the city might divide up the property for future development to the state, and later those administering the grant.

Fann said the money and future work was welcome news when he announced the initial approval of the grant to city commissioners and then again to the CDA during their March 1 meeting.

“We’ve already had three projects come look at the site,” Fann said. “I did have to drive them through grass that was four feet tall in places, so this work will help a lot to show off what a gem we have here.”

He added that “when you look at the property from the highest spot, you can see just about everything around you. It’s perfect for someone to come in and develop.”

Morris echoed those thoughts, and added another: there should be consideration of investing in the construction of smaller SPEC buildings.

Cedartown’s building was completed in 2014, and has yet to find a industrial partner ready to move into the 100,000 square foot space. Morris said that had the building been smaller, he might have considered it for his printing business’ upcoming move, but that for now it was too big for him to consider.

He added that he’s heard from many business owners like himself who want to expand, but don’t need that much space to move into. They’re looking for buildings that are about half the size of the Northside Industrial Park’s SPEC building instead. Maybe even smaller at 10,000 or 20,000 square feet.

Right now, Morris said the program doesn’t allow for the city to look at smaller construction projects to entice businesses into the industrial park, but his hopes are that it is something they can look at on a local level for potential investment in the future.

“Trying to fill up 100,000 square feet of space is a challenge,” he said. “I think we might have more luck if they’d let us build 2 50,000 square feet buildings instead.”

Morris asked for feedback on the item, along with one other that came before the Development Authority during the open portion of their meeting.

In past weeks, the Cedartown City Commission tabled a request to approve changes to the intergovernmental agreement that controls how economic development projects are sought out and negotiated.

Fann had called attention to several items during that meeting he felt troubled by and wanted changed, and brought them up again during last Thursday’s session with the CDA. Those included authority held in the agreement made before Kendrick took over as President of the DAPC.

Morris asked for members to make comments about the issue along with any others they felt needed to be addressed in the weeks to come before moving onto other business for the day.

The CDA did go into an executive session after discussing public business to discuss a potential real estate investment, but took no action before the meeting’s close.