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Milton launches new effort to woo developers to industrial park

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Stacy Vogel
April 27, 2008
— Some properties are easy to market, Milton Administrator Todd Schmidt said.

Home builders always are looking for residential properties.


Retail stores always are looking for commercial parcels.


But industrial developers won’t locate in a community without an invitation, Schmidt said. You have to woo them.


“On the industrial end of things, at least it seems to me that you really have to be more intentional about your efforts to seek development,” he said.


That’s the thinking behind the new effort from the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism to market the city’s Eastside Industrial Park.


Milton’s industrial park started taking shape in the late 1980s along Storrs Lake Road and Sunnyside Drive near Highway 59. Today, it encompasses about 170 acres and 30 businesses, including the recent additions of Baron Styles, Freedom Graphics and United Ethanol, Schmidt said.


But MACCIT and the city are ready to take the park to the next level, Schmidt said.


“The city really hasn’t pursued (industry) before,” Schmidt said.


One major attraction for the industrial park is its transportation networks, said Christina Slaback, MACCIT executive director. Highway 26, Highway 59, County M and a railroad track all run through the park.


“Transportation is really critical right now for development and industrial and manufacturing facilities,” Slaback said.


The transportation situation will look even better after the state completes the realignment of Highway 59 and a Highway 26 bypass in the next 10 years, Slaback said. Highway 26 will form an interchange with Highway 59 in the middle of the park, making it easy to access the Interstate and surrounding communities, she said.


But MACCIT has to market more than just the industrial park to attract potential developers, Schmidt said: It has to sell a developer on the entire community.


“You need to look at the things that would be attractive to an employer and his or her employees,” he said. “Things like the quality of the education system, availability of affordable housing, availability of jobs.”


MACCIT is enlisting local and regional Realtors to help in the effort. It plans to host a Realtor event Tuesday, May 20, to teach real estate agents and potential developers about the park and the planned Highway 26 bypass.


The group also is creating new brochures and maps and other marketing materials for the park.


The industrial park is part of a tax incremental financing district, so the city will reimburse MACCIT for its marketing expenses through TIF funds.


But one of the first marketing efforts might be free. The city council gave MACCIT permission April 15 to come up with ideas for a new name for the park.


“For people who aren’t in Milton, ‘eastside’ doesn’t mean very much,” Slaback said.



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