The Industrial Board approved the construction of a gate for the proposed Coffee County I-24 megasite at the Oct. 20 meeting.
The Industrial Board budget and finance subcommittee recommended a purchase order for $3,200 to install a gate, some stone and some drainage and access work for the site.
Earlier this month, Ford Motor Company announced a substantial development at a megasite in Memphis. There have been four tours given to potential industrial developers to locations in Coffee County in the last month, though it was not detailed if any of those were to the megasite.
The lack of sewer utilities to the site is one area that has been discussed extensively in recent months. Initial studies indicate that Manchester wastewater treatment plant will not be able to handle the load that a megasite industry would likely generate. City administrators have hinted that state money might be available to build an additional plant to handle the extra wastewater load.
However, city advisors have cautioned that even if the city were given a grant to handle the cost of a new facility, the cost of depreciation on the plant would tax city finances.
“There is a lot of expense for the sewer, it could cost $100-170 million. That is something that someone will have to come with before we can do it,” Mayor Marilyn Howard said.
“I’m for the megasite, but I just can’t let the city go bankrupt by stepping into something that will benefit the county and surrounding counties,” Howard said, noting that the city was fully committed to working with all the stakeholders involved.
Howard speculated that with the Ford investment in Memphis, attention should shift to the Coffee County megasite.