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Leaders to announce major new business

Local government leaders are preparing to announce a major new business to be located at the Decatur County Industrial Air Park.

At a joint meeting between members of the Development Authority, Bainbridge City Council and Decatur County Board of Commissioners on Thursday night, Development Authority Executive Director Rick McCaskill said he expects to make a public announcement of a final contract sometime within the next two weeks.

McCaskill said the prospect chose Decatur County after an extensive regional search and could begin construction on a facility at the industrial park, located off U.S. 27 North, within the next one to two years. The business has the potential to create several hundred jobs in a variety of fields, he said.

“This is going to make a huge difference to Decatur County, for a lot of folks,” McCaskill said. “We’re going to do everything we can to maximize this project.”

In addition, the local economy could experience a significant, temporary boost during construction of the facility, similar to what was experienced during the approximately 30-month construction of Bainbridge High School, McCaskill said. Local motels and restaurants benefited greatly during that time, he said.

Local governments have seen dramatic increases in local sales tax receipts after both the opening of the Wal-Mart and Home Depot in 2005, as well as during construction of the $54 million new school.

McCaskill noted that although local leaders “have a pretty big hole to dig out of because of the economy,” work to replace lost businesses and jobs is ongoing.

“There’s other people we are talking to,” McCaskill said. “But this is one we have landed.”

Thursday night’s meeting, held at Cedars Farm Plantation near Fowlstown, was intended to bring leaders from the three governmental bodies together face-to-face to socialize, something they don’t often get to do, McCaskill said.

Both the Decatur County and Bainbridge governments have been “wonderful” to work with, said McCaskill, who praised their support for economic development. He said bringing together the resources necessary to attract new business to the county is “a team effort.”