McCaskill: Economic expansion is on the way

Published 6:08 pm Friday, January 6, 2012

Several expansions and new additions will soon be on the way to Decatur County’s industrial parks, according to Rick McCaskill, the executive director of the Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County.

McCaskill spoke to the Bainbridge Rotary Club on Tuesday afternoon about the future developments.

He said that both Meridian and DaniMer, sister companies that produce plastic-related products, are currently going through expansions at the Decatur County Industrial Park off U.S. Highway 27 North. Meridian is the larger expansion of the two, because it is installing its first production line.

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“[Meridian is] putting in their first full production line and it’s quite an undertaking,” McCaskill said. “They’re adding new ‘team members’ over there too, so that’s good — more jobs.”

DaniMer is also adding a new line that will produce a special adhesive used to assemble cardboard boxes, McCaskill said.

“I don’t know that it’s all settled yet, but I believe they’re going to add about a third to the building they currently have,” he said.

McCaskill also noted that expansions are taking place at both Shaw Industries and R.W. Griffin, which are also located at the county industrial park.

Another company will also begin constructing a new building at the Commodore Decatur Industrial Park, located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and U.S. Highway 27. R Squared Solutions, owned by Roger Faircloth, will begin construction of its building in February, McCaskill said. The company makes products that benefit the forestry industry.

McCaskill said that the county’s industrial parks are also planning for the future. Plans are to prepare a 40,000-to-50,000-square-foot “building pad” that would be ready for any industry that would like to construct a new facility on site. The pad would not have a concrete pad pre-laid, but would have flat ground suitable for quick construction.

“That way, if we get somebody who comes in and looks at our existing buildings but those don’t work, we can show them the pad and they can build the building they need right here,” he said.

McCaskill said there are some prospects for some buildings that currently sit vacant, but nothing official just yet.

“We’ve got an active prospect on the old TRACO building right now,” he said. “This prospect actually came through the state. This is a good looking project; it’s a lot of jobs. And generally, when you have a prospect with a lot of jobs, it’s a very competitive process, and we expect that on this prospect as well.”

McCaskill said most of the new construction at Commodore will be visible to passing motorists, and he hopes that activity pays off future dividends.

“I want there to be some optimism in the community about these expansions, because it’s a big deal,” he said. “It’s a lot of money being spent; it’s some new jobs being added; and hopefully we can start out this year with a little optimism.

“I’m hoping we can generate a little enthusiasm and a little energy and really get something going. Development seems to breed future development, and that’s what I’m hoping we’ll see.”