Etowah County Megasite
Since 2008, the Etowah County Commission has been acquiring and land banking property adjacent to the Little Canoe Creek for future employment-generating opportunities. This land is bounded to the west by the Etowah/St. Clair County line (which is Little Canoe Creek); to the south by Interstate Highway 59; and to the north by a main line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad. It is 11 miles southwest of downtown Gadsden and 53 miles northeast of downtown Birmingham.
Listing on state database of available industrial properties
On August 23, 2011, with the county having purchased a total of 755 acres, the IDA applied for and received permission from the state to add this site to its database of available industrial properties. This listing is HERE. Since then, the County Commission has been acquiring more land to increase the size of the site and to square-up its boundaries.
Development of this property as an industrial megasite
On January 20, 2015 the Commission entered into a contract with the IDA to (1) report on ways and means to develop this property as an industrial megasite, and (2) prepare for the marketing of this property to companies as a location for a megaproject. It designated the IDA as Etowah County’s official representative on matters pertaining to the presentation of this site to industrial prospects and their consultants.
On March 30, 2015 the IDA delivered a report to the Commission which describes (1) the characteristics of megasites; (2) what companies and their consultants consider important in evaluating the suitability of a site for a megaproject; (3) what needs to be done for the Little Canoe Creek property to meet these standards, so that marketing can begin to recruit a major new industrial employer to occupy it; and (4) ways to accomplish this work. Before delivery, it was reviewed for accuracy by an attorney, a civil engineer, staff members of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, and a corporate site-selection consultant. This 35-page report can be viewed HERE.
Comparison of development options
To confirm the highest and best use for this property, the County Commission held public meetings and evaluated three other options for development that had been discussed previously. A summary and preliminary cost comparison of these alternatives, presented by the IDA to the Commission on May 26, can be seen HERE.
Status of this development
County Commission votes to develop this property as an industrial megasite: On July 7, the Commission formally voted to develop the Little Canoe Creek property as an industrial megasite, so that in the future Etowah County will be able to compete for projects the size of a Honda, Hyundai or Mercedes.
County buys additional land and accepts bid to construct new access road: On July 21, the Commission approved the purchase of 81 additional acres to further increase the size of the site. Commissioners also accepted the low bid to construct a new access road to the site.