County to spend $5.1 million for levee at KiOR site

ADAMS COUNTY — Adams County will spend $5.1 million to put up a levee at the industrial site where a biofuels company intends to locate.

Biofuels company KiOR said Monday it would locate its second Mississippi production facility in Natchez, a move that will create 300 jobs.

The facility will be built on a 120-acre tract of land comprised of the former Belwood Country Club. The company had originally announced the facility would be located in Newton.

KiOR uses a biofuel production process that uses nonfood stock, including wood chips. The Pasadena, Texas-based company’s had a plant under construction in Columbus.

The Natchez Democrat reports shortly after the announcement county supervisors said in a news release that the county would build the levee.

Natchez Inc. director Chandler Russ said the levee was as part of the county’s industrial recruitment package.

“The levee itself is the critical and necessary piece of infrastructure that has to happen in order for KiOR to take place at the Belwood site.

“It is really a piece of the puzzle to put in order to make the site competitive versus other sites,” Russ said.

Board of Supervisors president Darryl Grennell said the idea to build a levee on the Belwood site, which floods during high water, has been floating for the last 14 years.

“There was always an understanding that there was going to be some kind of levee built on the property or the elevation on the property would be increased.

“We did not want to go ahead and build a levee without having a project. We always said we would wait until there was a serious industrial project that wanted to be located on that property,” Grennell said.

Grennell said money from the Mississippi Development Authority would likely finance the levee. He said the board would seek for KiOR to sign a memorandum of understanding stating that the company would in return make a $200 million investment in the area.

A KiOR spokesman said the levee construction and a financial pledge was not a part of KiOR’s commitment deal to come to the area, but the company did not want to comment about ongoing legal negotiations. The spokesman did say, however, that the company was comfortable with saying it would make a $200 million investment in the area.

Russ said the county is also considering making water and sewer upgrades to the site, but the matter is still up for discussion.

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