Supes to consider loan for CalStar project


Lowndes County supervisors will meet 9 a.m. Monday to hold a public hearing on applying for a $5.35 million CAP loan through the Mississippi Development Authority to purchase property and build a facility that would house a sustainable building material company.

State law requires at least one public hearing to be held before formal applications can be filed for state funding. CalStar Products, which opened a "green" brick and paver plant in Caledonia, Wis., in 2010, wants to build a second facility. Calstar officials agreed on locating in Columbus after discussions with representatives from the Golden Triangle Development Link. The company would promise to bring 58 jobs to the area upon opening its doors and could create at least 40 more within three years of beginning operation, Link CEO Joe Max Higgins told the board in April.

The facility would locate where an Agracel speculative building located on a 23-acre site now sits in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park. CalStar must provide a letter of commitment by Friday from lenders to provide the company $5 million in debt financing for additional funding to complete the project.

Supervisors will also consider appointing two people to an ad hoc committee being established to spur economic development dialogue on the area west of downtown known commonly as 'The Island.' The nearly-800 acre stretch of land that was once a high-activity area for industry and commercial development. The area has been mostly vacant since the relocation of the Highway 82 bypass. Two city councilmen, Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor and Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem, have already been appointed to the committee. District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks, who has shown interest in being one of the supervisors on the committee, said three developers will also be involved in the group.

Members will also hear a long-range plan update from East Mississippi Community College President Rick Young. Lowndes County is one of six counties the college serves.

Supervisors will consider two board appointments -- one to the Tombigbee River Valley Water Management District board and another to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport Authority

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