Economic activity picking up

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Although economic development activity in Decatur County has yet to fully recover from the nationwide recession of the last two years, the pace is picking up, according to Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County.

At Thursday’s board of directors meeting, McCaskill provided updates of several construction projects and two real estate transactions in the works in the county.

Engineers with Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that signed a memorandum of understanding almost a year ago with the Authority to construct and operate a prison in the industrial park, will be in Bainbridge on Feb. 18 to begin site work preparation.

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Officials from Decatur County and the Development Authority with meet with CCA officials and tour the site where the prison will be located.

“They’re anxious to get it going, but very guarded on making any kind of projections about when things might start, but all indications are it would be sooner rather than later,” said McCaskill.

Initial projections have the capital investment by CCA in the neighborhood of $150 million and, when fully staffed, the facility would employ up to 600 people.

In other business, the authority voted unanimously to sell 2.75 acres of land in the Commodore Industrial Park to R Squared Solutions, a locally owned manufacturing company serving the forestry industry. Brothers Roger and Leonard Faircloth own the company. The contract price for the land will be $19,750, consisting of $7,000 per acre plus $500 for a survey of the lot.

McCaskill informed the board that a group of local investors have entered into an agreement to purchase the old Lynch Systems buildings behind Stone’s Home Improvement off Calhoun Street.

The property is currently owned by Olivotto Glass Technologies based in Milan, Italy. From all indications, the building closest to Calhoun Street would be demolished after an asbestos abatement is performed on the structure.