Opp: We’re shovel-ready

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The City of Opp is open for business, officials said at a Monday press conference announcing that the city’s industrial park received an Alabama AdvantageSite designation.

The City of Opp and the Covington County Economic Development Commission, along with other statewide economic development authority agencies, have been working on the project for nearly two years.

As part of the designation, the park is “shovel-ready,” meaning there is no groundwork for pros-pective businesses to take. All environmental studies, historical archives, borings, boundary sites and more have been conducted.

Officials agreed this designation takes years out of the process for prospective businesses.

“We have taken steps to give ourselves a leg up,” Mayor John Bart-holomew said. “We want everyone to know that Opp is open for business.

“This designation is the culmination of a lot of hard work by many people,” he said. “Opp has an industrial site and spec building second to none in the state. We will now work just as hard to bring in industry for our community.”

The industrial park is more than 102 acres at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 84 and U.S. Hwy 331, and features at 40,000-square foot spec building adjacent to a 54-acre developable site. The largest developable portion of the park is 57 acres with all utilities either in the park or along U.S. Hwy. 331.

The spec building was completed in 2011, but has yet to have a tenant.

CCEDC President and CEO Rick Clifton said that the designation, which is the first of its kind in Covington County, puts Opp “at a level above the rest.”

“We expect projects to come,” he said. “This is only the fifth in Southeast Alabama, and it’s very important here. This is where businesses will look. If you don’t have an AdvantageSite, they won’t come look at you.”

PowerSouth Economic Development Representative and AdvantageSite board member Brian Parker said they would continue to work with the city to get great clients.

Bartholomew said there are several companies looking at the building, but any type of business would be OK.

“Anything from aerospace to automotive, really anything,” he said. “Aerospace is taking off here. An aerospace company looked at it, and we will know something in June.”