An unnamed company will bring more than 150 jobs to metro Jackson, the Wynndale Industrial Park has hit a snag and construction in Hinds County is moving toward Clinton.
According to J.C. “Sonny” McDonald, executive director of the Hinds County Economic Development District, an unnamed company that will employ more than 150 people is in final negotiations to build in the Northwest Industrial Park in Jackson.
“It’s a done, done deal, but we have to go through all the motions,” McDonald said.
On March 11, Atlanta-based Millwork Sales Inc. broke ground for an 80,000-square-foot manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facility in Northwest Industrial Park. Less than a week later, United Gilsonite Laboratories held groundbreaking ceremonies for a 39,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for home maintenance and repair products.
Caldwell Manufacturing Company and Mosinee Converted Products are already located in the park, which is owned by the city of Jackson and marketed by HCEDD.
In February, officials of Arch Aluminum and Glass Co. broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot fabrication facility in Jackson. The $3-million investment will provide jobs for about 75 employees and should be open this summer.
In 1998, the unemployment rate was slightly higher than in 1997, but it was still posted at less than 4%. New economic developments should see that trend continue, McDonald said.
“This new company that we will announce soon will employ as many as Millwork Sales, United Gilsonite and Arch Aluminum and Glass combined,” he said.
The new 462-acre Wynndale Industrial Center on Interstate 55 South, dedicated last fall, hit a snag when contractor Roxco Construction filed bankruptcy. Initial work was completed, but finishing touches were not, McDonald said.
“We’re now having to deal with the American Home Assurance Company, Roxco’s bonding company,” McDonald said. “If someone is ready to come in, we could get it ready for them.”
HCEDD plans to market Wynndale Industrial Park extensively to manufacturers of light gauge metal, he said.
“The Greater Jackson Industrial Center in Byram is full of companies that turn out light gauge metal, such as Double G Coating and Doublecote,” he said. “We have about 100 truckloads of steel going out of there each day in coils and something is being made out of it. We want to go after those types of companies. But that doesn’t mean our park isn’t suitable for other things.”
WHERE`S THE GROWTH
In 1998, gross retail sales in Hinds County were $4.2 billion, the highest in the decade, with retail sales tax collections of $257.2 million. In January, sales tax collections of $24.4 million represented an increase of almost 3% over the same period last year.
“With sales tax figures, it’s evident that there’s a lot of growth going on in Hinds County and we believe the growth’s still ahead of us,” he said.
Most of the county’s growth has surrounded the city of Clinton, McDonald said.
“(The city of) Clinton has prepared itself for growth, and it’s about to catch up with what it prepared for and it’s gearing up to go again,” said McDonald. “With WorldCom moving in, Clinton has attracted an awful lot of attention.”
About 1,000 single-family residences are on the drawing board and Clinton city officials are “contemplating expanding the city limits,” he said. “To do that, they need to improve infrastructure.”
Other than the cities of Clinton and Jackson, Hinds County is dotted with small towns, including Bolton, Byram, Edwards, Learned, Raymond, Utica and Terry. With a population of nearly 250,000, Hinds County covers 875 square miles.
“We’ve been encouraging these small towns to expand their city limits and grow, to expand their water and sewer lines and streets to make them more attractive to people,” he said. “In rural areas in Hinds County, there’s still inadequate sewage and that restricts housing starts.”
Of 1,029 residential building permits issued in 1998, 43% were in unincorporated areas.
Transportation construction is in the planning stages to keep up with recent and predicted growth in Hinds County.
Expansions to the airport in Raymond are on the drawing board and improvements have been made to Hawkins Field, he said.
Funds recently allocated by Congress for a “desperately needed” $3.5 million interchange west of Clinton on Interstate 20 will “open up land for development in the western part of the county,” he said.
“Congress set aside more than $600,000 for a study on a bypass from Clinton to Byram,” McDonald said.
With development of the Clinton-Byram Parkway, rural land will be attractive to developers. The parkway will divert traffic from already congested Interstate 55, he said.