Jackson considering industrial park building

Monday, December 8, 2003

In an effort to entice big industries, the city of Jackson and the Cape Girardeau Area Industrial Recruitment Association may erect the first building in Jackson's industrial park.

A joint committee will determine whether such a building is feasible at the park on U.S. 61, near the Fruitland interstate interchange.

The team will likely make a decision by early spring, with the possibility of a groundbreaking shortly thereafter.

Currently, there are no buildings at the industrial park, but the city now has electricity, water and sewer available there.

Mitch Robinson, director of the recruitment association, said industries are often in a hurry to relocate and don't have the time to build a facility. The building, Robinson said, would merely be a shell and would allow a lot of flexibility.

Robinson said the committee will study the feasibility of buildings ranging from 40,000 to 60,000 square feet.

"There are very few buildings in Jackson suitable for large manufacturers," Robinson said. "There's a lot of smaller buildings and some larger ones, but nothing in between that is quality, that provides 24-foot ceilings. The problem with a lot of the existing buildings is that the ceiling heights are pretty low, and that's a real problem if a business is looking for a warehouse."

Should the building come to fruition, it will be paid for by the association. The city will donate the land.

The building "will plant a seed, create something where another industry can come in and set up operations in without a lot of planning," said Jackson Chamber of Commerce executive director Ken Parrett. "Once they move in, others will follow."

The association built a similar building on Nash Road and sold it to Penzel & Co., which now leases the building to Spartech. Spartech employs 115 workers.

Jackson Mayor Paul Sander said recruiting industry "is a tough business. The city made a decision some years ago to try to get into industrial development, to try to create jobs. But it doesn't happen over night. It's expensive, but when you hit the home run, you'll accomplish your goal that brings a lot of jobs to the city of Jackson."

Robinson said he didn't know exactly how many people would be on the committee, but said it will consist of Jackson aldermen, members of the Jackson Industrial Development Company, bank executives, and associates of Cape Girardeau's Industrial Development Authority.

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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