The Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO) has purchased a 145-acre site on U.S. 79 West where it intends to build a second industrial park with rail spur access.

JEDCO receives its funds through a half-cent sales tax, and uses that money to foster economic growth by giving employment incentives and land grants to new and existing businesses in the area. JEDCO helped bring in manufacturer Electro-Fin with land grants in the existing Norman Industrial Park, located on US. 69 South, and has given incentives to local companies since 1995.

“JEDCO has been actively seeking a rail-served piece of property for several years now,” said JEDCO Chairman Robert Cudd. “We believe the property we have located will meet the needs of our existing industries, as well as companies looking for a site to expand or relocate their operations. JEDCO has been approached by numerous clients who have the need to operate in close proximity to rail, and this park will be a perfect fix for industry with these specific needs.”

JEDCO paid approximately $845,000 for the entire purchase, which included $2,585 per acre for the land, improvements which include two foundation homes and a roadway on the property, and an approximate $250,000 agreement for access to an existing rail spur. The rail spur will allow companies to ship and receive freight directly to rail cars on the Union Pacific line.

“We feel like we can land some more industry by having that there,” said JEDCO Vice-President Glen Hamilton. “I feel like we could probably accommodate, with rail access, 15 to 20 businesses.”

The two homes on the property are currently being rented, and Cudd said JEDCO plans to leave the homes be until the land might be needed for an incoming business.

JEDCO has already begun planning the development of the park, which will include utilities, rail access improvements and other infrastructure. No companies have yet committed to locating to the new park, but several have shown interest in rail access — including, Cudd said, Cardinal Health.

“Increases in the price of fuel have impacted the demand for both inbound and outbound rail freight service,” Cudd said. “Because of this high demand and the low supply of industrial rail property in the East Texas region, our ability to offer these resources will further advance our community’s corporate stability and the continuous use of developed properties in Jacksonville.

“We enjoy a diverse manufacturing base, and this additional industrial park development will give us the resources to extend this even further.”

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