Gary Chandler, New Albany and Union County’s industrial recruiter, has begun keeping office hours in New Albany two days a week.
Chandler is Director of Industrial Development for Three Rivers Planning and Development District. He serves Pontotoc and Lee counties as well as Union County. The city and county each pay Three Rivers $45,000 annually for the development services.
Chandler plans to be in the Union County Development Association director’s office in the welcome center (old post office) on Mondays and Wednesdays, as much as is feasible. The nature of his work means that his schedule will need to be flexible.
Chandler is visiting and working with local industries, especially concerning future expansion or development. He also is focusing on marketing the 100,000 square foot speculative industrial building completed in the Martintown South Industrial Park south of Diversity Vuteq.
The building was constructed by a private investor group called Enhance Mississippi LLC. The group includes banks and individuals as well as Three Rivers.
It is a shell situated on a 200,000 square foot pad to accommodate future expansion. Although it has a 39-foot ceiling, the specifics of a concrete floor and internal wiring will be determined by the user.
Although the structure is privately built, Union County agreed to be responsible for infrastructure until it is sold.
Chandler says there has been interest in the facility.
If the building is not sold within three years, Enhance Mississippi will have the option to lease-purchase the 65-acre site over 10 years at a cost of $5,000 per acre and zero percent interest.
Three Rivers Executive Director Randy Kelley is listed as agent for the LLC.
Chandler is also concerned about workforce availability and development for retail business as well as industry.
Union County’s unemployment rate for March was 5.5 percent. That ranks the county as having twelfth-lowest jobless rate in the state. However, for several years Union County was consistently second- or third-lowest, often just behind Rankin or DeSoto counties.
The March numbers included 13,410 people working and 790 unemployed. The totals can be deceiving, however, in that the 14,200 comprises only people who are actively looking for work.
Thanks, perhaps, to the COVID-related benefits, many people simply are not looking for work, and may not for several more months. With a listed adult population of 21,349 for the Union County, that leaves more than 7,100 potential workers who are not seeking jobs.
If anyone would like to schedule an appointment to meet with Chandler on Monday or Wednesday, or any other day, he or she may call the Union County Development Association office at 662-534-4354 and speak to UCDA Executive Assistant Joanne Lesley.
Enhance Mississippi, Gary Chandler, industrial development, Matintown Industrial Park, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, Union County, Union County Development Association