Pioneers looks to expand here

The Grady County Joint Development Authority is in the midst of negotiations with Pioneer Hi-Bred International for a million-dollar plus expansion that will result in the creation of approximately 10 new jobs here.
JDA Chairman Charles M. Stafford briefed members of the authority on the ongoing negotiations with the company.
Pioneer’s plans are for a $1.5 million expansion to its current facility located in Milestone Industrial Park. The JDA has committed $30,000 toward necessary repairs on the existing facility.
According to Chairman Stafford and Authority member Chuck Thomas, the original building has been plagued with problems since it was completed, primarily leaks.
Stafford said the Grady County Board of Commissioners has committed to assisting the company and the JDA with the moving of fill dirt for the expansion.
“The county has really stepped up to the plate on this project, and we appreciate their cooperation,” Chairman Stafford said Tuesday.
The Pioneer project was the only bright spot to an agenda otherwise filled with problems.
The authority has gone through the legal process of evicting Strategic Concepts from the Heritage Industrial Complex. The company owes the authority approximately $18,618.64 in rent. Authority attorney Thomas L. Lehman explained the procedures he is moving forward with in order to recoup the rent, primarily a sheriff’s sale of property abandoned at the former Roddenbery pickle plant.
The authority hopes to cover the lost rent with the sale of three forklifts the company had stored in the rented space. Lehman said the sheriff’s office will begin the sheriff’s sale process Tuesday.
In addition to Strategic Concepts, the JDA is also working with owners of Park Model Manufacturing to bring its loan up to date. The company, which has ceased operations and is in the process of selling its interest in the building located in Milestone Industrial Park, is currently two months behind in payments to the authority, which financed the construction of the facility. The total amount outstanding is currently $9,336.92, of which $1,220 is payment due the city of Cairo for a grinder used to reduce the material waste from the plant going into the city’s sanitary landfill.
The JDA has been working with a prospective new company interested in obtaining the building, but Thomas warned Tuesday that the slowdown in the economy may postpone that deal.
Authority members expressed a willingness to work with the owners of Park Model Manufacturing, but only if payment is made to keep the note not more than 30 days past due.
In other business Tuesday, the authority:
*Heard a report on its 2006-2007 audit from Auditor Perry Henry. Henry reviewed the audit with the members of the authority and noted that he had given the authority a “clean opinion.”
*Heard an update on the search for a new executive director to replace Rick McCaskill, who resigned to accept a similar post in Decatur County. The authority has received 13 applications to date and the deadline to apply has been set at Nov. 15.

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