The Clinton County Development Association listened to an update from the city on the railpark project at its meeting Wednesday. The CCDA has been a major contributer to the railpark, obligating $2 million to the project over the course of its construction.
City Engineer Jason Craft and City Administrator Jeff Horne discussed the progress of the project, and plans for its future. Craft said phase one, which focuses on the mainline Union Pacific track, will be completed soon. This section of the project will allow the main line to hook up with the railpark in the future.
Horne said the project, which has an estimated total build-out cost of $50 million, will be funded through a variety of grants. A Department of Transportation RISE grant will fund an entrance road for the park, and Horne hopes to pull in significant funds from DOT TIGER 3 grants to help complete the project.
“We’re going to apply for the TIGER grant for basically as much as we can get,” Horne said.
He added that a sum of about $10 million is a reasonable request for a project of this magnitude. “We have a pretty good shot (at getting the funds),” Horne said.
Bringing tenants to the railpark has been a priority for Clinton Regional Development Corp. President Steve Ames, who said he has already traveled extensively to guage interest in the project. Though he could not give out sensitive information about prospective tenants, Ames said hundreds of jobs could be brought to the area via the railpark.
The railpark is designed to accommodate tenants of varying sizes and needs. Horne said the city is purposefully designing lots from seven acres to 200 acres to help lure a variety of businesses to the area.
How the park is divided up and what sort of businesses come to the area will rely heavily on the first tenant, according to Ames.
“The first tenant will drive a lot of the infrastructure in the park,” Ames said.
In other action, the board:
• Listened to a financial report from Wild Rose Casino and Resort.
While June saw growth that outstripped any other casino in the state, July has been sluggish. Casino General Manager Tim Bollmann attributes the “soft” numbers to the heat or the economic climate.
However, stalled growth through July is a statewide trend, he said.