Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Airport drafts economic plan

Hernando Today
Published: April 27, 2009

BROOKSVILLE - When economic development officials try to lure new business or industry to a county, the first thing those companies typically ask is whether there is a large enough parcel of land ready to be moved on quickly.

Airport Director Don Silvernell said he has an answer to that question: Come on down to the airport industrial park – there's plenty of room available.

Silvernell said he has entered into a partnership with the Office of Business Development to market a 50- to 100-acre parcel of unused airport industrial land that economic development officials can use as part of an overall incentives package to attract a large primary company to the site at reduced or no cost.

That land does not have any near-term development plans and is currently not generating revenue.

A qualified industry would be a minimum 500 jobs with a $25 million investment.

Silvernell already has the green light from the Federal Aviation Authority to go ahead with the economic stimulus plan, as long as that agency can review any proposed lease agreements with prospective companies.

Silvernell said once he explained the possible revenue the airport could realize from such a large industry on-site, the FAA was amenable.

His hope is that a primary industry would entice supporting companies to lease land around it, stimulating the local economy even more. Silvernell said he would like to see an airplane manufacturer take advantage of the land, although any clean industry would be acceptable.

County commissioners recently allocated $500,000 to the Office of Business Development to be used as incentives to attract new industry. By offering airport land that is currently sitting vacant, the county would not have to take money from the general fund and could put that larger pot of money toward other incentives. More here.

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