(Glenwood) -- Mills County officials are hoping to lure more businesses and industries by rail.
The county's economic development foundation is working closely with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to develop what they call "world class" rail industrial parks. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Thursday morning, County Economic Development Director Rick Allely says two potential sites are targeted for rail development. One is located at the Eagle Crossing Business Park at the U.S. Highway 34/I-29 interchange.
"In the Eagle Park business park area," said Allely, "we master-planned 5,600 acre, and we have a little over 300 of that which is targeted for heavier rail usage."
Allely says the second potential location is referred to as the "Pacific Junction Rail Site."
"This 300-plus acres sets to the southeast of Eagle Crossing Business Park, on the southeast side of Pacific Junction," he said, "that has access, or potential access, to the main line east-west Burlignton Northern Santa Fe railroad, as well as the north-south BNSF route that connects Kansas City and Omaha."
Once the two parks are established, Allely says the county will be in better position to entice logistics industries, or warehouse distribution operations.
"A common name that people associate with those are Walmart Distribution Centers--their business warehouses," said Allely. "Amazon is building big facilities across the country, so that they can have that just-in-time delivery. In fact, one of our Iowa-based companies--HyVee--they're actually expanding in the warehouse industry, as well. We think that by putting together these shovel-ready sites, those are the type of companies we can attract to Mills County."
Allely says funding for the projects will come through a public/private partnership.
"A lot of it will be funded privately, with the individual developer or the end users that locate into the park," he said. "There will be public funding that will come via tools such as tax increment financing, potential grant and loan programs--either through the federal level, such as USDA Rural Development--or the state of Iowa, through the state business assistance programs."
Allely hopes the Pacific Junction site will be "shovel-ready" by the first quarter of 2019. He adds the Eagle Crossing location has most of the infrastructure in place for development now. You can hear the full interview with Rick Allely on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.