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Interest remains strong for IDA
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The final month of a busy year has kept the Effingham Industrial Development Authority staff hopping, IDA CEO John Henry said Thursday.

Though December is usually the quietest month, in regard to prospect activity, three prospects inquired about Effingham County on Wednesday, Henry told IDA members.

“We’ve had our busiest year ever, as far as project work is concerned,” he said.

Henry said the IDA is now in a better position to carry some of these prospects to fruition, though Effingham isn’t the only candidate for them. Still, the IDA is handling a site visit a week and in some instances has handled two site visits a week.

“The activity has been phenomenal,” Henry said. “It’s been crazy.”

Pulling together the information requested by prospects and site selection consultants has become easier, Henry explained, especially since the Governor Treutlen site in the Effingham Industrial Park gained GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) status. GRAD certified sites have necessary zoning designation, rail and road access, utilities service and wetlands delineations completed.

“Getting the information (for prospects) is so much easier than it was a year ago,” Henry said. “Those are questions we are well-versed in. It’s the difference between night and day for our workload.”

The IDA staff currently is working on eight projects, Henry said, and now about 80 percent of their work week is devoted to putting projects on the ground. The projects looking at Effingham, either through site selectors or on their own, range in size from using existing buildings to those looking at hundreds of acres with hundreds of jobs to offer.

“The prospects of doing so look very good right now,” he said.

The county lost out on Project Beta, with a $220 million capital investment, when that project was pulled. Effingham was chosen as the only suitable site in the state, according to Henry.

Two current prospects had site visits this week, Henry said, and prospects are looking at not only the Governor Treutlen site and the IDA’s holdings at I-16 but also parcels B and D at the Research Forest Tract.

“We’ve got so much going on,” Henry said. “It looks like 2012 is going to be a really good year for us. December is usually the slowest month, and it’s been our busiest.”