Local business needs RR dock

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Lewisburg manufacturing company needs a loading dock built on the railroad spur near Old Belfast Road, according to discussion at City Hall on Monday.

Attorney Bob Binkley announced at the Industrial Development Board meeting that Brothers Fine Foods has an immediate need for rail transportation, but "we can't speed it up."

A "couple of flat bed trailers" could serve as a temporary dock, Binkley said. The specialty foods manufacture and packager is willing to pay to use the dock, but not to pay to build one.

Binkley told the meeting that he believes CSX ownes the spur, but the dock would be on city property. He expected to know more in 60 days.

Also during the IDB meeting, the board discussed a panel recently named by Mayor Barbara Woods to select the new director of economic and community development.

"We'll have a better idea of the timeline after the next council meeting," Woods said. The new director could be in place "by late October or November."

She asked the board to reconsider a requirement that the next economic and community development director should have a college degree, but the majority seemed to disagree with her.

"Now is an opportunity to get the best we can," Councilman Ronald McRady said. "I think a degree is a minimum to get the caliber of person we want."

Meanwhile, the IDB lacks two members, and discussion showed that a "few" people have expressed interest in coming on the board. The requirements for membership include membership in the Chamber of Commerce and in a nationally recognized civic organization, such as Rotary, Lions Club, Kiwanis. Members must also be Lewisburg residents.

"We need to get the best people we can to be productive," McRady said.

Hopefully, the group will have some names to consider at its next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 2. This is a change from their usual Monday meeting date to accommodate the Labor Day holiday.

Discussion turned to the sale of the city's property in the Business Park, and the presentation at the IDB's July meeting by two men from CB Richard Ellis, touted as "the world's largest commercial real estate company," according to the firm's literature. Board members agreed they want to sell the building and land at the Business Park, but were still hesitant about giving CBRE an exclusive contract. This would cut out local agents, though there were comments that no local Realtor had ever brought in a viable industrial prospect.

"They (CBRE) figure they can move that building," Woods pointed out, but the IDB meeting ended with no decision on that subject.