MT. VERNON — With only 25 acres left in the Rolland W. Lewis Industrial Park, city leaders have planned for future economic development by approving a resolution Monday night to purchase additional property.
The 100 acres will be purchased for $1.75 million from Barnard Farms and Barnards Soil Service, LLC. The property is located south of Neon Sign, off Illinois Highway 15 and Shiloh Drive.
City Manager Ron Neibert said the city put together the capital revenues for the project nearly two years ago.
“We had the conceptual plans drawn up and worked with PGAV Group out of St. Louis to come up with conceptual designs. Those designs were implemented, we identified properties. We not only put the TIF district in place on the west side of the interstate, but we also entered into negotiations some time ago with the landowners of this agreement and reached equitable terms on the nine-month option,” he said.
Neibert said there is $5 million allocated in the budget for acquisition and building the industrial park. The city will also be looking to the Federal Economic Development Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation for an additional $3 million in funding.
“That will pay for a large portion of the roads, water and sewer to develop the park,” Neibert said.
“This has been a long time coming, even before the Comprehensive Plan identified areas where we needed more industrial
sites. We budgeted for it and here we are,” said Councilman Todd Piper.
Council approved on second reading the tax levy, but not before Councilman David Wood said he would be voting in opposition of the ordinance. Wood said he was not voting against the proposal because it was too low or too high, adding, “I’m concerned in the way we’ve gone through this process; we’re behind the curve on this.”