07/18/06 — Fremont eyes plan to create industrial park

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Fremont eyes plan to create industrial park

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on July 18, 2006 1:58 PM

Wayne County's commissioners want the N.C. Department of Transportation to conduct a survey to determine if extending Davis Mill Road to the old U.S. 117 is feasible -- a move that could help bring a distribution warehouse or other industry near Fremont.

Fremont owns 99 acres of land off Davis Mill Road that could be used as an industrial park. If the road had access to the highway, trucks would have better access to the site, town officials said.

"We want to use that land as an industrial park so that we can bring jobs to Wayne County and Fremont. It's the best use of the property and jobs helps everyone in the area," Fremont Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said.

Wayne County Development Alliance President Joanna Thompson said no company has expressed interest in building on Fremont's land, but town officials are interested in developing the land for that purpose.

"As far as an industrial park goes, they've done great things in Mount Olive, and we could do the same for the northern end of the county," McDuffie said.

The northern part of Wayne County also provides the location to tap into Wilson County's unemployed workers.

Wayne has an unemployment rate that hovers between 4 and 5 percent, which is considered full employment by many industries, Ms. Thompson said.

But, before jobs can be secured, the land must be ready for development, which is a project that is in its "infancy stage," Ms. Thompson said. Before the land can be marketed to an industry, its water and sewer capabilities must be determined, any environmental issues must be resolved, a survey must be conducted and any on-site structures hindering development would need to be leveled.

McDuffie said he, along with town and county officials, will work to develop a site certification program, which is a booklet that details the land, its infrastructure and zoning. With that information readily available, it will be easier to market the land to an industry, he said.

The Alliance and Fremont officials have begun working on creating that necessary infrastructure, which was how the transportation issue arose. During the study, the Department of Transportation will determine the best ways to access old U.S. 117 and Fremont's land. Also, Ms. Thompson said, the department could determine any improvements that should be made to Davis Mill Road.