County to begin pre-construction meetings for natural gas project

Published 7:47 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove said the county was preparing to enter into a preconstruction meeting with contractor Watkins & Associates for the 6-inch gas line that will cross from the southwestern end of the Decatur County Industrial Park to the eastern side.

“Oxford construction asked us to provide natural gas as an energy source for their asphalt operations,” Breedlove said. “Around about the same time, we had a meeting with Bainbridge Manufacturing and (CEO Abraham Levy’s) words were we were going to need lots and lots of gas.”

Breedlove claimed that if Bainbridge Manufacturing were to begin operation with the current natural gas line, they would use most all the gas in the park. Other companies at the Industrial Park requesting more natural gas is Meredian, which uses part of the Propex building to crush canola seed for Meredian’s products.

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“Those are significant requirements in the industrial park and that’s why we decided to do a natural gas line,” Breedlove said.

Breedlove said last summer he was in talks to apply for a grant to begin the project, but based on the short amount time frame the companies at the Industrial Park were relying on additional natural gas, and the possibly of a grant taking up to 14 months for approval, it wasn’t a viable option. That couple with the fact that work cannot be started on a project unless the grant is already approved sent the county looking elsewhere.

Instead, the Decatur County is relying on money in general funds and revenue from the upcoming solar panel project to pay for the natural gas line.

“I’m confident about what we did and what we are about to do. We are working to provide gas in advanced of the needs of the customers at the industrial park. Not after they have the need.”