|‘Hard hat tour’ previews Cates Landing’s potential
|Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012 9:02 pm
| By KEVIN BOWDEN
Now that work on the Cates Landing riverport is really beginning to take shape, the port authority’s marketing team is making an effort to show off the project to its “stakeholders.”
A “hard hat tour” Friday morning included an hour-long PowerPoint presentation about the port project, followed by a trip to the port site for a first-hand view of the project.
The stakeholders who attended Friday’s session included local, state and federal officials who have supported the multi-million-dollar project. The hard hat tour was also intended as a preview of the port project for economic development officials from across the region.
Once completed, Cates Landing is expected to bring industry, jobs and capital investment to the entire region.
The riverport north of Tiptonville is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year and has been designed to handle barge traffic coming up the river. In addition to the riverport, there is an adjacent industrial park and Foreign Trade Zones designation that will enhance the region’s appeal to prospective industries.
The detailed PowerPoint presentation put together by Forcum-Lannom Contractors gave the more than 40 people at Friday’s session a historical overview of the project. The presentation highlighted Cates Landing’s strategic location and potential economic impact for the region.
“To really appreciate this project, you have to put it in perspective over a 20-plus year period,” marketing team chairman Kerry Brannon told the group Friday.
He described the Cates Landing project as a “shared vision” and said “we’re making real business right now.”
Port authority chairman Jimmy Williamson described Cates Landing as a “historic project.”
“It’s truly a miracle to have this coming out of the ground out here,” he said. “We’ve had good support from local, state and federal (agencies).”
As construction continues on the riverport, there is a growing sense of enthusiasm coming from those directly involved in the project.
“We’ve got a lot to be excited for,” Brannon said.
Among those in attendance at Friday’s briefing were chamber officials from across the region, several state legislators, a variety of economic development officials and Mike Marshall, representing the Delta Regional Authority.
Marshall spoke up at the briefing, saying Cates Landing “is very important for western Tennessee and the whole region.”
He emphasized the port project will really benefit from the current expansion of the Panama Canal. Opening up that trade route to more barge traffic will have a direct impact on the Lake County port.
When asked about what industries the port would appeal to, Williamson replied steel operations and agriculture would be high on the list of potential prospects.
Published in The Messenger 3.12.12