Making a plan: Port’s future focus of meeting

Making a plan: Port’s future focus of meeting
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
A key meeting dealing with the future of Lake County’s Cates Landing project will be held in Dyersburg next week.
The Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority will meet with representatives of informa economics of Memphis.
The consulting firm was hired in early January to develop a master plan for the riverport and to help with the hiring of a port operator.
The port authority is expected to meet with Ken Eriksen, senior vice president of informa economics, at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Lannom Center in Dyersburg.
The meeting was scheduled to “discuss with our consultant the future direction of the Port of Cates Landing,” according to Jimmy Williamson, chairman of the port authority.
The port authority has been meeting monthly to discuss progress on the port and to make decisions to keep the project on track to be completed by the end of this year. Next week’s meeting is a called session to discuss the future of the riverport.
Local representatives serving on the port board are county commissioner Richard Arnold and Dave Frankum.
“We will receive information from the commissioners, various economic development organizations, various government agencies and the general public,” Wiliamson stated in a meeting announcement. “This meeting is to help our consultant begin the process of working with the commissioners to develop a long-range plan and to assist with the selection of an operator for the port.”
The multi-million dollar Cates Landing project is seen as a key element in this region’s economic future. The transportation hub is being designed to handle shipments being transported up the Mississippi River.
An industrial park is also being developed as part of the Cates Landing project and work is ongoing to establish a Foreign Trade Zone as part of the project.
The port authority hired informa economics out of a field of three companies that submitted bids. The company has 125 employees at its Memphis office and has experience in international business.
Last year, the Cates Landing project received a critical financial boost with the appropriation of $7 million in state funds and another $13 million in federal funds. Now, construction of the port and port facilities is in full swing as crews are busy working on getting the port completed by the end of the year.
The port authority’s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 9 a.m. March 14 in Dyersburg.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 2.23.12

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