Manufacturing company considers locating in Lake County

Lindsey Bell

The Lake County Commission convened for a special called meeting on Monday, June 10 to vote on a resolution regarding Project Nola, which aims to bring new industry to Lake County.

Lake County Mayor Denny Johnson gave county commissioners new details concerning the pilot project, Project Nola. A manufacturing company, which at this time chooses to remain nameless, is interested in locating their new site on 60 acres in the northwest corner of the Lake County Industrial Park located at the Port of Cates Landing. The company is seeking land on the Mississippi River, which is what put Lake County in the running for their new location. Although Mayor Johnson did not name the company who is interested in the land, he did say it is a metal fabricator.

If all resolutions are approved, Project Nola aims to transfer 30 acres of the desired land to the Lake County Industrial Board at no cost to the company. The additional 30 acres will be made available for the company’s expansion by use of a five year right of first refusal at a per acre price representing the existing fair market value.

The land in question is currently leased by Landon Paschal for farming. It has not been planted on this season, and the lease is in its last year.

During the meeting several commissioners mentioned the problems that had arisen with last year’s Excel Boats debacle. The county was working on providing 45 acres to Excel Boats in order for the company to move to Lake County. Excel backed out late last year and chose instead to locate to Union City. According to Mayor Johnson, Union City and Obion County have since had trouble with the company as well.

However, Mayor Johnson assured commissioners Project Nola is nothing like that situation. For the pilot project with Excel Boats, the company was going to receive their desired 45 acres with no financial obligation for additional acreage. Project Nola, on the other hand, the company will only be provided with half of their desired acreage, and the other half going at a per acre price representing the existing fair market value. The mayor also added that a great amount of time and effort has been put into working with the interested company.

“This project has been under wraps for more than a year,” he said.

Mayor Johnson presented the commissioners with a resolution to give the Lake County Industrial Development Board authority to negotiate with the interested company regarding the desired acreage, authorize the mayor and county clerk to execute any deeds or other required documents to transfer ownership of the initial 30 acres at the appropriate time as well as the five year right of first refusal for the additional 30 acres, and terminate the farm lease with Landon Paschal for the initial 30 acres at the cost of $6,766.20.

James Yates made the motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by Wayne Hatley. The resolution passed with the support of all county commissioners with the exception of Don Moore.

The transfer of the initial 30 acres will entail an initial investment of approximately 24 million dollars from the company, which plans to employ 100 people. The company expects to pay each employee between $19 and $24 per hour.

The Industrial Development Board met Thursday, June 13 at 4:30 p.m. in the courtroom at the Lake County Courthouse to discuss Project Nola. See next week’s Lake County Banner for additional information.

Before closing the meeting, commissioners also discussed Phillippy Levee. The levee, which was constructed in the early 1900s, is in need of repairs.

“This is a levee that has been going sour since the seventies,” said county attorney, Hal Boyd.

A resolution to allow for a survey and appraisal of private lands surrounding areas of the levee in need of repair was unanimously approved.

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