By Jerry Underwood
Made in Alabama
The project will include grading a portion of the more than 1,000-acre property to create a pad-ready rail-served site sufficient to accommodate a large industry. Natural gas lines will be relocated near the edge of the property, and a new railroad crossing will be added to the industrial access road off U.S. Highway 11.
Marilyn Lott, economic development director for Etowah County, said the improvements will enhance the site’s marketability by reducing a company’s construction timeline, saving time and money.
“The mega-site has many location advantages for industrial recruitment and this project will improve upon its assets and greatly increase our overall competitiveness,” Lott said.
Chris Ingraham, Norfolk Southern’s assistant vice president of Industrial Development, said the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site is designated as a Norfolk Southern Prime Site, having been thoroughly reviewed for rail access and certified by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
“Norfolk Southern is pleased to partner with Etowah County and the state of Alabama to develop a rail-served industrial site that will generate mutual benefits for all parties involved, including increased opportunity for new jobs and private investment across the region,” he said.
The Growing Alabama Credit program, administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce, allows private companies and individuals to get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to 50% of their income tax liability for investing in approved projects, including site preparation for industrial sites.
“This infrastructure improvement project at the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site perfectly illustrates how we can use the Growing Alabama Credit as a tool to facilitate growth and expand employment,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“It also underscores how true collaboration can advance the goals of economic development in our state.”
The Etowah County Commission began purchasing the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site property in 2008. The site is adjacent to Interstate 59 in Attalla and on a Norfolk Southern mainline.
In 2018, the site earned the Alabama AdvantageSite designation, which means all the necessary due diligence typically needed by companies and site-selection consultants during the evaluation process has been completed.
“These types of partnerships are vital in helping the County Commission reach our long-standing goal of seeing high-paying jobs at the mega-site,” said Jeffery Washington, president of the Etowah County Commission. “We truly appreciate this funding made possible by Norfolk Southern and the state.”
Lott said, “This investment in our community will move us one step closer to seeing significant economic growth in the region as a direct result of the mega-site. We appreciate the support from our elected officials, Gadsden-Etowah IDA and other economic development partners. Working together, we will make the mega-site a success.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.