Access to and with in the Riverside Industrial Park, a 180 acre industrial park with direct access to the public port on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The waterway is a major regional public works project.
Project Type:Access Road Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:5,502 Length (mi):2.00
Economic Distress:1.50 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):119 Population Growth Rate (%):-0.47
Employment Growth Rate (%):0.32 Market Size:54,671 Airport Travel Distance:25.05 Topography:4
Region:Southeast State:MS County:County
City:Columbus Urban/Class Level:Rural Local Area:N/A
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:33.473127 / -88.436997
Initial Study Date:N/A Post Constr. Study Date:2000
Constr. Start Date:1986 Constr. End Date:1992
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): N/A Planned Cost (YOE $):1,000,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):1,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):1,736,315
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||861446.00||477701.00||1339147.00|
|Output (in $M's)||2436250.00||1350990.00||3787240.00|
This access road opened in 1992 to serve the existing Riverside Industrial Park in Columbus, Mississippi. The industrial park surrounds a small port on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (Tenn-Tom) that connects to the Gulf Coast (Mobile, AL). The access road provides a direct connection to the waterway and facilitated trade for regional businesses. Two small businesses, a chemical manufacturer and logistics company, located at the park after completion of the road and one business was retained. An economic impact study conducted in 2000 noted that the two new businesses accounted for 22 jobs and $4 million in investment. Since then these companies have shed several jobs while a new motor manufacturer relocated to the industrial park from another location in Columbus, allowing it to expand operations, adding 60 jobs and investing $20 million. The total job impact of the access road is approximately 50 employees.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
Columbus (pop. 25,944 in 2000 Census) is the center of the Columbus Micropolitan Statistical Area located in Lowndes County in northeast Mississippi, an area referred to as ?The Golden Triangle.? The closest major markets are Birmingham, AL (118 miles) and Memphis, TN (174 miles). The city does not have direct interstate access but is connected to the east via US 85 to Interstate 20 (leading to Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA). US 78 (an interstate grade highway) connects north to Memphis, TN. The region is served by Golden Triangle Regional Airport, a general aviation facility that connects to Atlanta and Memphis. The town is located on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (Tenn-Tom), a man-made channel that connects to Mobile, AL (major port on the Gulf), to Pickwick, TN through the Tennessee River, and eventually to the Mississippi River. A small port in Columbus on the Tenn-Tom offers rail and highway connections, and is equipped with several cranes built to handle the heavy, bulk goods carried by barge along the waterway.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Traditionally, the Columbus economy was based on textiles and furniture manufacturing, but has recently shifted to more high-tech industries. The area has a large concentration in engineering and high-value manufacturing including Eurocopter (a helicopter manufacturer), Paccar (an engine manufacturer), and Aurora (an aircraft manufacturer). These three businesses are all located on a ?megasite? at Golden Triangle Regional Airport.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) designates sites with more than 1,000 acres of developable land and utility connections as megasites. The local aerospace design and manufacturing activity is also tied into the Columbus Air Force Base, which trains military pilots and is used for testing new aircraft. From 1982 to 2002 (before and after the project), Lowndes County grew by 2% in population and 13% in jobs compared to 13% population and 31% job growth for the state of Mississippi.
The 2-mile access road was built between 1987 and 1992 at a cost of $1 million. The Appalachian Regional Commission contributed $700,000 to the cost through its Public Works Program. Local government entities funded the remaining $300,000. The access road was built to attract more jobs to the local area and provide stronger transportation connections for local businesses. The road serves the 180-acre Riverside Industrial Park, as well as a small port on the Tenn-Tom waterway.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
The access road has provided more multi-modal capabilities for businesses through access to the water port, rail yard, and proximity to US 78. In the past few years, there have been upgrades to the access road and port facilities including the addition of a new crane.
The improved connection to the Tenn-Tom Waterway provides access to new markets for other local manufacturers besides those located at the park. The region now has more opportunities surrounding waterborne trade by improving the reach to international markets. One major user of the port and access road is Weyerhaeuser Paper, which employs 600, making it the largest manufacturing employer in the county.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
After the access improvement, two new companies moved onto the site: Logistics Systems, a stevedoring company, and Southern Ionics, which stores and moves chemicals (including dye for paper mills). By 2000, these companies added a total of 22 jobs, far short of the initial target of 100 jobs prior to construction of the access road. The access road was critical for retaining Southern Wood Fibre at the industrial park, a company that supplies wood chips to Georgia Pacific in Alabama. Currently, these companies account for 15 jobs at the park.
The most important change since 2000 has been the relocation of Baldor, an electric motor manufacturer, to the industrial park. Baldor had been in Columbus for 40 years and was looking to expand its operations. The existing site could not accommodate their expansion plans, and Baldor began to explore options, including a possible relocation of manufacturing operations to their headquarters in Arkansas. The company was persuaded to stay in Columbus, choosing a new site at Riverside Industrial Park. They invested $20 million in the 30-acre site and increased their workforce by 60 for a total of 300 jobs. Their decision was based, in part, on the close proximity of the industrial part to highway and rail transportation. They currently do not use the waterway but may do so in the future. There have also been some warehouses built to support Baldor in the local area.
Southern Wood Fibre still has a handful of jobs but has struggled due to a decrease in demand from the paper industry. Baldor wanted to stay in Columbus due to its well-trained workforce. The company employed local senior staff that would not be easily replaced if they relocated out of the area. The local government also offered a ten-year tax abatement for Baldor's location at the industrial park.
?Evaluation of the Appalachian Regional Commission's Infrastructure and Public Works Program Projects?, June 2000, The Brandow Company and Economic Development Research Group.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbus%2C_Mississippi http://www.thecityofcolumbusms.org/ http://www.cldlink.org/index.php/
OrganizationLowndes County Port Authority Lowndes County Economic Development Authority Baldor Manufacturing