Road to SmartSite will be named after former Chamber President Elton Pody
SmartSites speeds business development and expansion
Alexandria, La., November 28, 2012 – England Airpark announces that its 34 acre Heavy Industrial Site “E-1”, located adjacent to Union Tank Car, has been designated as a Cleco SmartSite. This prestigious designation comes after a rigorous months long review process. It is the first site to receive the designation in Rapides Parish.
The SmartSites program develops Cleco communities by attracting business, creating jobs and supporting existing business development efforts. Cleco SmartSites are certified by McCallum Sweeny Consulting and meet site-readiness criteria, which reduces risks to business and industry and increases speed to market. McCallum Sweeney Consulting is one of the leading site selection and consulting agencies in the nation.
Cleco is pleased to work with the England Authority to help make this site part of the SmartSites program,” said Keith Crump, senior vice president of commercial operations. “This newly certified site has strong backing and is located in a prime industrial area. This is a highly marketable property, and we feel it will be a very attractive site to growing business and industry.”
The England site is located adjacent to Union Tank Car near I-49, and the area offers a skilled labor force and a competitive operating cost environment. England‘s site is the first to earn the Smartsite designation in the Alexandria MSA and is also one of the first four in the program.
Cleco started the SmartSites program in 2010 with a list of sites for McCallum Sweeney to assess. The property at England Airpark has completed the evaluation process, which includes a thorough appraisal of the site’s strengths and challenges, helping to speed the business development process.
“As businesses look to grow, they want to locate properties that are easily permitted, contain no surprises and have available or accessible infrastructure,” said Mark Sweeney, senior principal with McCallum Sweeney. “We essentially identify all of the things that are important to business and industry so that they know up front what a piece of property offers.”
"There is a pressing need to identify and cultivate more available industrial sites in Louisiana. We are delighted by Cleco's efforts to aggressively build site inventory with their new SmartSites program, as this program will closely align with our own efforts to expand the number of quality sites available in Louisiana,” said Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. “As we work together and add more SmartSites to the Louisiana inventory, I am confident that we'll see more projects and more announcements in Cleco's service territory."
The England Authority will also be dedicating and naming the new access road to the site “Elton Pody Drive”. Mr. Pody served as an England Board member, President of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in securing Union Tank Car Manufacturing facility located at England Airpark.
“Elton always wanted to improve other people’s lives and make sure his actions and work affected people in Central Louisiana in a positive way,” said Sherry Pody, wife of Mr.Pody. “His legacy will always be remembered for economic development and helping to create jobs for Central Louisiana. It is an honor for our family to see this dedication and I know Elton would be honored by this ceremony next to Union Tank Car, a place he worked so hard to achieve for Central Louisiana.”
“Gaining this certification is one of the best ways to attract new business to the Central Louisiana area,” said William Barron, England Authority Board Chairman. “With this property, we can now compete on a national level and attract the attention of businesses that may have overlooked us in the past. We are excited about the opportunities this certification brings as we continue to work to create jobs in Central Louisiana.” Barron also commented on behalf of the England Board, “that dedicating the road is a great way to celebrate the legacy of Mr. Pody who served England and Central Louisiana for many years helping to create jobs.”
England Heavy Industrial SmartSite E-1 Overview:
Owned by England Airpark
Less than 1 mile from I-49
Less than 1 mile from Alexandria International Airport (AEX)
Utilities infrastructure (gas, water, wastewater, electric) on site
Road infrastructure on site
Phase I Environmental Assessment, wetlands delineation, endangered and threatened species study, archaeological investigation, and geotechnical assessment completed