Monday, 19 March 2018 17:06

Jobs bill will help Old Town develop near airport

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OLD TOWN - When President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal back in the 1930s, the country saw immediate economic relief, but an outdated clause of the package has caused a hiccup for business development in town.

An old deed restriction that was part of Roosevelt's New Deal basically only allowed Old Town leaders to lease land they own out by Old Town Municipal Airport, also known as Dewitt Field.

Many business developers have wanted to purchase land by the airport, so city leaders approached congressional leaders in Washington who supported a bill to remove the outdated restrictions.

That bill was endorsed by both the House and Senate and on Monday was sent to the White House to be signed into law.

“These really are prime commercial lots because for a number of reasons: They are at the airport, they are very close to I-95, they have municipal utilities, natural gas, three-phase power, public water, public sewer -- all the attributes any prospective business owner would want,” said Ron Harriman, an economic development consultant for the city.

Several businesses have shown interest in the land and the passage of the bill has spurred even more, City Manager Bill Mayo said Monday.

“We actually have a meeting tomorrow with a prospective client so it's very exciting for the city,” Mayo said.

The city has been working on developing land out by the airport for more than two years and already has invested around $1 million for infrastructure.

There is about 18 acres available for development, currently cut into six lots, but those lot lines could change depending on what businesses are interested.