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Industry eyes Demopolis for plant

City considers leasing City Landing to state for improvements

After several months of negotiations, the Demopolis City Council and Two Rivers Lumber have resolved issues pertaining to property inside the Airport Industrial Park, which also led representatives of Two Rivers Lumber to introduce a possible new industrial neighbor that could be bringing up to 60 new jobs to the area.

Roy Geiger of Two Rivers Lumber introduced George Anglada, general manager of business development with Pinnacle Renewable Energy, stating that the pellet company is interested in making Demopolis its hub for operations in Alabama and Mississippi. 

Geiger said Pinnacle could invest about $80 million in the proposed wood pellet plant that would be located near Two Rivers Lumber inside the Airport Industrial Park. Anglada said Demopolis could be a good fit due to the river and rail transportation access.

Anglada said his company will be making a decision on the location over the coming months.

As for Two Rivers Lumber, the council passed an ordinance that allows for the company to purchase the property that it currently leases from the city. The payments for the property will be the same as in the lease agreement.

Other items discussed by the council included the following items.

• Officials with the Demopolis Park and Recreation Department presented a grant proposal through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that would allow the department to lease the City Landing and make improvements.

Under the agreement, the city would continue providing regular maintenance while the ALDCNR would provide major maintenance. Among the items that could be upgraded is the boat ramps.

It was stated the city had considered the lease in the past, but hit a snag as the property must be available to the public throughout the year. It was stated that previously city officials had concern with meeting that obligation due to Christmas on the River. Now, officials are saying that is something that could be worked around.

The property that would be leased includes that just past the playground and splash pad to the river.

“I think a lot of people would like to see these improvements at the city landing,” said Park and Recreation Board Member Hugh Overmeyer.

The council approved to allow the department to proceed with getting more information about the grant.

• Mayor John Laney also addressed the audience regarding the possible construction of apartments near Demopolis High School.

“Conversations are ongoing to see what we can do. That property has been zoned R4 for years and  years. We know the concerns and we are doing what we can to address those.”

When asked, Building Inspector Julius Rembert said no paperwork has been filed regarding the apartments.

• Jay Reynolds of the Demopolis Water Works and Sewer Board requested confirmation on how the city would like to proceed with bidding a project related to the water tower near the Demopolis Civic Center. Reynolds said he needs to know the extent the city would like to repair the tower, whether a “patch and repair” or full rehabilitation. The other option being considered is to demolish it.

• The council approved for DFR Chief Keith Murray to proceed with applying for a USDA grant of $250,000 to provide equipment for a firefighter education program at DHS. He said the equipment could also be used in other forms of training. There would be no city funds required.

• Murray also discussed upgrading the city’s weather alert siren system at a cost of about $140,000. The new system would upgrade the siren as well as provide notifications to mobile devices. The items was assigned to the council’s budget committee for review.

• The council approved paying $1,000 for five pipes to be used in upgrading access to Roman Alley.

• The council approved a new pay scale for DFR personnel. Murray said the plan fits with the current budget and provides a better means of forecasting salary costs.

• The council tabled nominations for vacant seats on the Park and Recreation Board and the Marengo County Economic Development Authority Board.

The next meeting of the city council will be Thursday, Dec. 19, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, December 11 issue of the Demopolis Times.)