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Activity starts at future farm center site

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The removal of timber from the future Alabama Farm Center at Alfa Centennial Park site was set to begin Feb. 18.

Industrial Development Authority Chair Monica Cooper gave this update during a meeting on Feb. 18.

Harrison Forestry Inc. was awarded the bid to cut the timber during an IDA meeting on Feb. 15 after the formal bid process.

“They are doing everything that we asked them to do, right down to the chipping and everything,” Cooper said. “They are doing everything that we needed them to do to get that property ready for a ground breaking hopefully in May or June.”

At a Feb. 3 meeting, the IDA had approved contracting with “Brown Forest Care, Inc. as a consultant to handle bidding process to oversight of harvesting and for the bids to be received by Feb. 12, 2021 at 11 a.m.,” according to the official minutes of the meeting.

During the Feb. 18 meeting, IDA Executive Director Whitney Barlow gave an update on the wetland study on the site. She said the public comment portion is almost complete.

“Terracon will respond to the comments, then you will finalize the Avoidance and Minimization of Impacts Discussion,” Barlow said.

Any necessary mitigation would be outlined before an environmental permit is given. This permit must be finalized before a ground breaking can take place.

A copy of the environment assessment will also be sent to the USDA and other paperwork will be finalized.

Cooper said the hope was to have all of this finalized by the end of May.

The possibility of the IDA beginning to hold Existing Industry Breakfasts again in April was discussed.

The board also updated the names of who can handle banking and authorized Barlow to be able to monitor the accounts thorough online banking.