Construction a record in Kennett

Friday, March 15, 2002

Business Today

After years of doldrums, building activity has picked up considerably in Kennett. It was at record level the past year, according to Melvyn Gerdel, city code enforcement officer.

"Last year construction growth amounted to more than $20 million," he said. "This year we'll just have to watch and see what develops. It looks good for the future. The number of inspections I do has increased significantly."

Gerdel said the construction total for 2001 was $20,705,358. About half of that came from two projects -- $7 million for the addition of two power generators at City Light Gas and Water and the rehabilitation and addition to the old Cotton Boll Hotel.

Last year construction of single-family homes was $2,324000, multi-family residential construction was $3,375,000 and general business construction came to $3,273,000. Renovations and other home improvements totaled $953,000, while assemblies construction ( church buildings, etc.) amounted to $593,000. Factory/industry-type construction totaled $9,187,000.

Gerdel said the 2001 building growth was an $8 million increase over the previous year.

Mayor Charles Brown singled out Great-West as a sign of the economic environment here.

"The growth is phenomenal with a company that started out with 25 employees and now has 135 people on staff," he said. "Obviously, Freddie Graham and her staff at Great-West have proven business can be successful in Kennett."

Brown said the decision by O'Reilly's, an automotive parts supplier out of Springfield, to open a facility here demonstrates its believe that Kennett can support another auto parts store.

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