Hamlet to take in Mark’s Creek Industrial Park property

64.99-acre parcel is last that for-profit Mark’s Creek Industrial Park Inc. owns

By Kevin Spradlin

HAMLET — Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless and City Council members agreed on Thursday to accept a donation of 64.99 acres, the last of the property owned by Mark’s Creek Industrial Park Inc.

Jeff Smart, property board member and former Hamlet mayor, addressed the council during a budget work session and said there is only one stipulation to the transfer of the land, which has no road frontage: that any proceeds from it be used to grow downtown Hamlet.

“We felt it right to, if possible, to donate the remaining land to the city of hamlet if you want it,” Smart said. “In doing so, the board … is asking if there are any future funds … or make some type of revenue off it each year. The money that’s taken in from this property be reinvested in the downtown business district. There can be a lot that goes into that.”

Council members wondered if timber on the land could be sold — it hadn’t in recent years. Smart said that wasn’t what his board members had in mind but that it wouldn’t rule out the transfer. Instead, Smart said, the board was hoping the city could find a way to generate revenue for the long-term benefit of downtown Hamlet.

Ultimately, though, “if we give you the property, it’s your decision what you do with it.”

Bayless noted the property has been selected by Duke Energy for further study to determine if it can be listed and marketed as a prime industrial site. Duke Energy announced in April it had selected the property, along with another 34 acres. A Duke Energy spokesperson noted the property is one of the few in Richmond County that has access to rail, natural gas, sewer and electricity and only about two miles from the Richmond County Airport — making it an ideal location for industrial development.

Councilman Tony Clewis suggested that if the land were ever sold, the proceeds could be “used as a business generator for downtown, attraction, opera house, or whatever.”

Councilman Pat Preslar said it would be ideal if the city could fund a micro loan program to promote new business. As those funds would be paid back, they’d be reinvested into the micro loan program.

“I think it’s a good deal,” Bayless said.



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