Master plan to be developed for Cates Landing project

Master plan to be developed for Cates Landing project
Staff Reporter
A Memphis consulting firm has been hired to work with the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority on the development of a master plan for the Cates Landing project in Lake County.
Informa Economics was hired Wednesday based on a recommendation from Richard Arnold, one of two Obion County representatives on the port board. He said three firms were considered for the port consultant’s job.
Ken Eriksen, the company’s senior vice president, attended Wednesday’s port authority meeting at the Obion County Public Library. He was identified as the project director for Informa Economics.
Arnold served as chairman of an ad-hoc committee that reviewed three proposals for port consultant and he told the port authority board Wednesday morning the recommendation was unanimous to hire Informa Economics.
The port board likewise unanimously accepted Arnold’s recommendation at Wednesday’s meeting.
Informa Economics will work with the port board for the next eight months on the development of a master plan and will also assist with the hiring of a port operator and will make facilities recommendations.
The Memphis firm will be paid $144,000 for its services.
Port officials are looking in to whether Tiger II funds could be used to help finance the hiring of the Memphis firm.
Informa Economics is an international company with headquarters in Memphis. The company’s bid states the Memphis office has 125 employees.
Also during Wednesday’s half-hour meeting in Union City, the port board was given a progress report from Dyersburg attorney John Lannom and an update on the port’s Foreign Trade Zone designation by economic development official Mike Philpot.
As for the hiring of Informa Economics, that firm’s proposal stated in part that it would assist “with the final master planning of certain infrastructure elements and operations development to ensure that Project maximizes the intended efforts for job creation and economic stimulus.”
Eriksen’s proposal outlines a three-phase plan that includes developing a master plan for Cates Landing, the hiring of a port operator and proposing recommendations “on the type, location and use of various port facilities.”
Informa Economics will reportedly work with officials from Forcum-Lannom Contractors to come up with a formal contract that will specifically outline the company’s scope of services.
Included in the firm’s proposal for the port board was the preparation of a market study for Cates Landing and the identification of prospective industries for the 350-acre industrial park located adjacent to the riverport.
In his monthly briefing to the port board, Lannom said he is working on a formal resolution outlining a debt repayment plan for bonds issued by Obion, Lake and Dyer counties. He said a debt management policy is also being drafted and both plans should be ready by the board’s February meeting.
Lannom also revealed a “site visit” is being organized for a Chinese delegation.
“I’m not sure when that’ll happen,” Lannom said, but he said it would be an “historic event.”
Lannom also informed the board that work is continuing by state transportation officials on the official state route to the port (State Route 22).
As for actual construction work at the port site, Lannom said, “We continue to monitor the project schedule.”
He explained rainy weather has delayed dirt work progress at the site “but the project is basically on schedule.
“We’re monitoring (the weather), but we don’t think it’s cause for concern at this point,” he said.
Coffey Construction of Hickman, Ky., has been hired as the subcontractor for the general dirt work on the port site, according to Lannom.
Mike Sanders with Forcum Lannom gave an even more detailed update on the port saying “work is moving along.”
He said a second barge and pile driving crew is on the site and significant progress is being made on building the port cells.
“Other than the winter weather, everything is moving good,” Sanders said.
He explained there will be some noticeable progress made at the port site by next month.
As Wednesday’s meeting wound up, Philpot reported work on securing Foreign Trade Zone status is “still in the process.”
He said he was in Washington, D.C., last month meeting with federal officials and hoped to have news of the FTZ status by the end of this month.
Philpot is the executive director of the West Tennessee Industrial Association and has been working closely with port officials on the development of the port project.
Published in The Messenger 1.12.12

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