City Lands Prospective Tenant For Smithfield PlantMar 23rd, 2011 | By Submitted | Category: Front Page
By Ginger Jarvis
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Madison city commissioners heard welcome news at their regular meeting on March 15. According to City Manager Harold Emrich, a prospective tenant is considering moving into the former Smithfield plant in the Madison Industrial Park.
Emrich reported that the tenant is a company owned by Americans born in Cuba. The firm is presently doing some repairs and other work to ascertain that the site is suitable for its production. Emrich said that the firm will initially employ 50 people, and that the number could later increase to 200.
(This reporter visited the site and found that workers were indeed busy inside the building. The site supervisor was unable to respond to questions at the time, but set up an interview with the manager on a later date.)
In other business developments, the board approved a site design for a bed and breakfast owned by Linda Barnes. Because the house is in the designated Historic District, signage had been a matter of concern for the commissioners and for the Planning and Zoning Board. Barnes presented printouts for two signs, one designed by Public Works Supervisor Chuck Hitchcock.
Commissioners Myra Valentine and Judy Townsend moved to select the first design, which displays Historic Madison information at the top and specific business information at the bottom. The structure would be uniform with all historic signs in the Historic District.
Since the cost would be lower than that requiring bids, Hitchcock and Barnes were instructed to get quotes for the sign and report to the April meeting of the board. The city will assume the cost for half the sign.
Barnes commented, “We now officially have a bed and breakfast in Madison on Dade Street.”
The board approved the first reading of an amendment in the ordinance allowing group homes in residential areas. The amendment would disallow any group home with seven or more non-related residents in an area zoned Residential. The amendment does not affect the state mandate that groups of six or fewer may reside in a single-family dwelling in a residential area.
There was no public comment during the public hearing on the change. The second reading will be held during the April 12 meeting.
Emrich reported that the lift station at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Highway 53 is underway. He also said that the lift station on MLK, funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), was completed under budget. “This is one of the finest performances by a contractor that we have experienced since I have been here,” he said.
Deloris Jones appeared before the board to express appreciation for the city’s improvements. “Thank you for cleaning up our community and tearing down the dilapidated houses,” she said. (The city has plans to remove about 10 more buildings that are in severe stages of disrepair.)
Jackie Williams addressed the commissioners with information about Covenant Hospice, which has served Madison County residents for seven years. “We are trying to spread the word about our services,” she said, “in addition to Big Bend Hospice. We serve clients at home or in nursing homes with nurses, hospice aides, chaplains and a bereavement counselor that is available to anyone in the community,” she explained.
New Mayor Jim Catron suggested that the April agenda include a proposal to ask the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council to develop a plan to improve the economy and promote local businesses.