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Oakwood plans to revive development authority

POSTED: August 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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Oakwood is working to revive its development authority, which had become dormant with all members’ terms expired in 2002.

"We’re just trying to get it up and running again and get the proper appointments in place," City Manager Stan Brown said Thursday.

City Council voted in July to approve an ordinance reactivating the organization, which was created by the city in 1982.

The ordinance says that the city can, among other things, enter into construction contracts, as well as build, improve or manage "projects ... on property owned or leased by the authority."

"Typically, it is a vehicle for being able to issue bonds or to borrow money," Brown said. "... (The group) can acquire land, dispose of land, enter into some debt and have agreements with the city for different economic development purposes."

The Oakwood Development Authority was instrumental in getting the 250-acre Oakwood South Industrial Park off the ground 10 years ago. The park is located at McEver Road and Rafe Banks Drive/H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway.

"It was used for borrowing the money needed to do the (park)," Brown said. "All the transactions of land and everything (went) through the development authority."

Patillo Construction, which has pushed the project since its beginning, since has bought up all the land and mostly developed sites in the park.

According to the city, more than 400 jobs have been created at the park.

Oakwood spent $4.5 million on land and park infrastructure, but through reselling the land, has made a $1.5 million profit, said Patti J. Doss-Luna, assistant city manager.

The authority "basically will serve as just another economic tool," Brown said.

"Industries that come in can request some assistance with some tax-free financing, that sort of thing," he said.

Brown said the authority "may be a tool that we use" as the city goes forward with its downtown development plan.

City officials are set to present a master plan for downtown, as well as commercial development along Thurmon Tanner Parkway, in an Oct. 7 meeting before the South Hall Business Coalition at Oakwood City Hall.

The ordinance calls for a seven-member authority, with four members serving two-year terms and three members serving four-year terms. All the terms will begin in October.



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