Linden mill one step closer?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2005

For most of last Thursday and Friday local officials entertained representatives from Global Cellulose Systems Inc. in the hopes of taking the next step to bringing an industry and hundreds of jobs to the area.

Through the combined efforts of many people, it appears as if they are one step closer. Talks seemed to go very well with officials and landowners bringing ample support to win over the visitors.

Marengo County Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said he was very impressed with the way things progressed and the representatives.

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“I think the meetings went really well,” Armstead said. “After Friday I had a private meeting with them and I was really impressed with what they had to say.”

Pat Dixon, a consultant for the Linden Industrial Development Board said she also felt good about the negotiations.

“We feel very good about the meetings,” Dixon said. “We had a good showing and a lot of support from the landowners and we feel very good about the possibilities.”

Landowners turned out in droves to gather information about the new company and their methods. Armstead said landowners seemed to be very impressed with what they saw.

“They seemed to be getting a lot of support,” Armstead said. “When I was leaving there were people drawing up papers and signing. We just need to follow up on this just like they did with Mercedes.”

The company’s representatives were equally impressed with the support they received from landowners. Dixon said the willingness to listen by both sides made for a smooth two days of meetings.

“I think they were very pleased with the response they got from the people in the area,” Dixon said. “They were happy with the location, the land and the people. They were very easy to deal with.”

The major issue that has garnered support for the new plant and farmland has been the possibility of jobs. Armstead said the company seemed to have the best interest of the Black Belt in mind.

“Their ideas about the project were really impressive,” Armstead said. “They really seem to be concerned about the Black Belt and getting jobs here and to some of the poorer areas.”

Because of the jobs, local government has been very eager to host talks with the company. Armstead said they plan to continue to do whatever it took to make them feel at home.

“The county will do whatever we can to make this work,” Armstead said. “We were very impressed with their commitment to the city and the area. We need something like this. Marengo County and the surrounding area really need this.”

While the process is one step closer there are still many more steps to take. The company must file applications to ADEM. However, things seem to be moving forward.

Dixon said the successful meetings were the result of hard work from many different people. She said the people of the Black Belt know what a boost this can be to the economy and had been very receptive.

“This has been a project with a lot of people involved,” Dixon said. “There were so many people that were anxious to help. I think everyone knows how much we need something like this to improve the county.”

Many who attended the meetings were looking at the big picture. Attracting one large industry will cause many others to take a closer look. Armstead said he hoped they could build off this success.

“Once we get one industry we feel like others will follow,” Armstead said. “It always seems like once you get one in place more and more follow and that is what we need.”