Regional port construction nearly complete, under budget

Regional port construction nearly complete, under budget
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
If all goes as planned, next month’s meeting of the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority will be held at the main office at Cates Landing.
It is a significant development for the Lake County riverport, which is making the transition from a construction project to an operational port.
Port authority chairman Jimmy Williamson announced Wednesday the port office is in the process of being furnished and if all the furniture is in place by mid-June, he will schedule the June meeting at the port site.
The port authority met for about 15 minutes Wednesday morning in Dyersburg for an update on port developments.
“To my knowledge, there are no claims pending with this project,” port legal counsel John Lannom said.
He used the phrase “clean slate” to describe the current status of the port.
“It’s a little amazing quite frankly,” he said.
Lannom’s comments referred to the amount of work that has been done to bring the $20 million port project to its current status — nearly complete, on time and under budget.
Lannom went on to say he is “cautiously optimistic there may be some movement with the state” concerning a recent request by port officials for state funding of a railroad extension to the port site.
The Dyersburg attorney also announced there have been “fruitful conversations” with prospects considering locating at the port site.
Although Wednesday’s meeting lasted only 15 minutes, it was a session filled with positive news related to the port project.
Cargill already has a grain storage facility set up at the port site and Williamson reported to the port authority, “They’re quite pleased with their location.”
He said he expects the agri-business to renew its lease at the port site.
The good news continued with a report from Forcum-Lannom Contractors official Randall Rhodes, who said most of the construction work at the port site is in the closeout phase. He even informed the board that grass is growing at the site and a 400-pound bronze plaque is just a few weeks away from being delivered to the port site.
As far as the long-awaited master plan that will be used to manage the port, Williamson said he has talked to informa economics official Ken Eriksen about some changes to the plan and “that’s coming along.”
Williamson said he expected to have a final draft of the master plan available for members of the port authority by next month’s meeting.
The port authority is scheduled to meet next at 9 a.m. June 12.
Published in The Messenger 5.9.13

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