The board met at City Hall to hire a contractor to do shoulder work on the roads leading into the Heflin Industrial Park from Riley Road. But Mayor Rudy Rooks took the opportunity to remind them how important their work is to the city.
“We kind of give you the freedom to do what you needed to do and hopefully give you the tools to do it,” Rooks said. “But with that freedom kind of comes some expectations, too.”
The city pays more than $300,000 per year in debt payments on the property for the industrial park and that is painful for a city the size of Heflin, he said. Heflin needs to see some return on that investment, Rooks said.
He asked the board to get out and make connections at state meetings and conventions and to market the property.
“Let’s be proactive. Let’s move forward,” Rooks said. “We’re going to have to light the fire on this thing, guys.”
Board Chairman Wendell Wood said he knows the town doesn’t have a plant in the park, but that the Industrial Board has been working. He noted that water is available in the park because of work the board did.
“Stuff’s been going on, it’s just not real visible to the public,” Wood said.
Board member Tanya Maloney said the board is hampered in other ways.
For instance, there is no full-time executive director to do that marketing and make those connections, she said. All the board members are volunteers and have jobs or other commitments. But money is the biggest issue, Maloney said.
“The main problem is that we don’t have an income coming into this board,” Maloney said.
The county gave the board $25,000 for work on the property and the board is using that to improve access to the park, she added.
Rooks said he understands money is an issue, and the city could try to find some money to send the board members to conferences. He also reminded the board that there are other areas in the city besides the industrial park that can be developed including an area near Buster Miles Ford and property on Alabama 9.
“We need to concentrate on the big white elephant out there, no doubt,” Rooks said. “But we’ve got a lot of prime property in and around Cleburne County that we need to try to move also.”
In other business the board members:
- Approved hiring Rick’s Hauling of Heflin to smooth, fertilize and sow grass seed along the sides of about a mile of road. His bid for the work was $11,421.
- Approved hiring the low bidder to haul gravel to the site so it can be spread on the roads. Woods is still collecting prices from local businesses. The prices for gravel were $9.95 per ton from McCartney Construction Speedway Quarry in Eastaboga and $10.50 per ton from Vulcan Materials Company in Ohatchee, Rooks said. He said the roads would require about 300 tons of gravel.
- Elected Jerry Cash as the new chairman of the Industrial Board, Steven Lines as vice chairman and Ted Beam as treasurer. They will take over the offices of Jan. 1.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.