Vidalia rubber plant on go

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Like a rubber ball bouncing down a hill, Vidalia plans for a rubber recycling plant are picking up speed.

City alderman unanimously approved the advertisement for a public hearing on the transfer of 25 acres to LIEL, the research company that plans to locate the rubber plant in the Vidalia Industrial Park.

The public hearing for the land transfer is set for Aug. 24.

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Transfer of the property will allow investors to secure loans for the project.

Preliminary financing for the project will be secured from five sources, City Attorney Jack McLemore told the mayor and aldermen during its regular board meeting Tuesday night.

Biz Capital, a non-depositary institution that lends capital to small and medium sized companies, plans to contribute $6.5 million dollars to the project. $1.5 million will come from an outside investor. The Lousiana Department of Environmental Quality will contribute $985,000 to the project. With an additional $600,000 from a Lousiana Community Development Block Grant, the total financing for the project will be a little more than $9.5 million.

The money will be used to buy equipment, stock the plant and build the building,.

&8220;Everything is on go,&8221; McLemore said.

McLemore said that the company hopes to start construction of the 50,000 square foot plant in early October.

The city expects a permit to be granted by DEQ by Aug. 26.

Mayor Hyram Copeland said that the plant hopes to hire 60 people in the first year of the project with the possibility of expanding to 135 employees in

three years.

Copeland praised everyone that contributed to the project.

&8220;It&8217;s been a long time and a lot of hard work,&8221; Copeland said. &8220;We think this is going to be something great for Vidalia.&8221;

In other business:

4 Alderman Ricky Knapp proposed that the board discuss changes to its ordinance that requires fronts of buildings on Carter Street to be of brick or some other equivalent.

Knapp said that many new shopping centers are using synthetic stucco, a suitable choice he said.

&8220;I don&8217;t see why we should limit ourselves to brick,&8221; Knapp said.

Knapp also said that city should look at approving colors for businesses, as well.

4 Alderman approved the license for two businesses.

Taco Del Mar, a fast food company that specializes in alternative Mexican food, plans to open a restaurant in the former Holsum Bread Store location on Carter Street.

Abbicorp, LLC., was also granted a license to operate a snow cone stand. The existing business was changing ownership.

4 Alderman approved advertisement for a public hearing to discuss changes to the zoning of two properties from residential to business.

Charles Clayton plans to build a children&8217;s dance studio at 106 Hickory Street next to the Vidalia Baptist Church.

Willie Smith also plans to build a business on Hickory Street across the street from The Ranch House, a western wear store. City attorney McLemore said that he could not disclose the nature of the business until the public hearing. He assured the board that is was a business that would be good for the city.

4 Vidalia Fire Chief

Jack Langston told the mayor and alderman that according to federal requirements

for disaster funds, they would have to pass a National Instrument Management System test.

In order to receive disaster funds from the federal government they would each have to pass the test, Langston said.