Cates Landing planners: It’s ‘Go Time’ for project

Cates Landing planners: It’s ‘Go Time’ for project
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
It’s “Go Time” for the Cates Landing project in Lake County, according to Ken Eriksen, senior vice president with informa economics.
The Memphis company was hired by the port authority in January to come up with a master plan for the Lake County project.
On Tuesday morning, he outlined how his firm plans to develop a master plan for the operation. He also unveiled plans for a detailed marketing study and discussed the process of hiring one or more port operators to manage Cates Landing.
The theme for informa economic’s plans for the Lake County riverport is “Go Time.” (See related photo, Page 2.)
Eriksen’s PowerPoint presentation didn’t provide any specific details, but was more of a broad overview of how his company will come up with a master plan.
“This is a great go time,” he told the 32 people who turned out for the hour-long meeting at the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s very much a go time environment.”
The master plan will consist of five components:
• A marketing study.
• Industries of interest.
• A grow-out development plan.
• A toll and tariff schedule.
• Terminal operator terms of reference.
“We’ll have elements of the master plan by the end of May,” Eriksen told The Messenger after the meeting.
He also said informa economics will have a narrowed-down field of candidates for port operator within the next 30 to 45 days.
Eriksen said he would have “some elements” of a marketing plan ready by early May. His company will rely on existing marketing studies that will be used as background in the development of a detailed and specific marketing plan for the port.
The Memphis company is having to handle its work in phases as funding becomes available from the port authority.
Eriksen outlined the basic approach his company will use to come up with a master plan that will deal with the agricultural and industrial applications of the riverport. He used one of the slides in his PowerPoint presentation to identify the strategic location of the riverport in relation to the Eastern United States.
In attendance at Tuesday’s meeting were Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire and Lake County Mayor Macie Roberson. Both have regularly attended the port authority meetings. Also in attendance at the meeting was Lindsay Frilling, economic development director of the Obion County Joint Economic Development Corporation.
Port authority chairman Jimmy Williamson of Dyersburg presided over Tuesday’s meeting. Representing Obion County on the port authority are county commissioner Richard Arnold and Dave Frankum.
In a related development, a hard-hat tour of the riverport has been scheduled for March 9. Those officials going on the tour will first meet at 10 a.m. at the Main Street Centre in downtown Tiptonville, where they will be given a briefing on the Cates Landing project. The tour group will then drive to the port site north of Tiptonville to actually check out the site and a lunch will be held afterward at Boyette’s Dining Room at Reelfoot Lake.
Construction of the Cates Landing riverport is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
Williamson said the Cates Landing project will serve as an “economic engine for northwest Tennessee.”
It has been estimated the Port of Cates Landing will be able to handle up to 1.67 mllion tons of freight per year. The riverport project is expected to create more than 230 construction jobs and 1,700 new permanent jobs, while also preserving nearly 2,300 existing jobs across the northwest Tennessee region.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 2.29.12

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