Aberdeen commits $200K for economic development

The Aberdeen Town Council met Monday evening.

A public hearing was conducted concerning using public funds for the economic development of the Iron Horse property. The property is on Carolina Road, just off Highway 211 East in Aberdeen, near the Moore-Hoke County line. No residents spoke at the public hearing.

In December 2022, Moore County Partners in Progress (PIP) executed an offer to purchase and contract with Three Rivers Land Trust to acquire a 73-acre parcel of land in the 128-acre Iron Horse Industrial Park for the appraised value of the property.

The ultimate objective of acquiring this property by PIP is to expedite the recruitment of one or more clients to the site, increasing the tax base and adding jobs to the town and the community. The purchase contract is contingent on receiving $400,000 from Moore County and/or the Town of Aberdeen to construct an industrial access road.

Last year, the town received a $167,500 grant from the North Carolina Railroad Company. The NCRR grant is being used to clear and grade 40 acres of land at Iron Horse Industrial Park. Once the site is cleared, a 600,000-square-foot building could be constructed.

Available utilities on the property include electricity with Duke Energy, Town of Aberdeen water and wastewater, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Windstream Communications.

The property has been under discussion for several months. Moore County and the Town of Aberdeen agreed to each contribute $200,000 for industrial development. According to Town Manager Paul Sabiston, the money would be a grant and would be repaid when the property is sold.

PIP’s president Natalie Hawkins says this is the “best industrial site in Moore County.” She said, “Industrial clients want sites that are ready to use.”

Aberdeen Mayor Robbie Farrell called it a “gold mine.”

According to Sabiston, he is still gathering more detailed information. Once that process is completed, another public meeting will likely be scheduled at the end of February.

In a related manner, the town took action on an annexation request from Coca-Cola to annex 52 acres located west of Carolina Road and Highway 211 South. It is located near the Iron Horse property. The town board directed the town clerk to investigate the sufficiency of the petition. The board should act on it during their February Meeting.

In other business, the town swore in eight new full-time firefighters. Mayor Farrell welcomed them to the “finest fire department in Moore County.”

The town also heard a request from a representative of the Lighthorse Trace neighborhood requesting a drop in the speed limit from 25 mph to 15 mph. Town procedure requires the police chief to review the request and make any suggestions necessary.

According to Sabiston, it should not be a long-drawn-out process, and he expects the town board will be able to take action on the request in the coming weeks.

Feature photo: The Town of Aberdeen initially views a film on Iron Horse Industrial Park in 2021 at its board meeting. Image from a snip of the film by Moore County Partners in Progress.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice. Contact him at [email protected].

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