Stone Co. road paving may bring economic development - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Stone Co. road paving may bring economic development

STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of thousands dollars in grant money may help put Stone County on the road to more economic development. Supervisors have secured grants to pave an industrial section of Old Highway 49. Officials say they believe once the dirt road is gone, more businesses will want to set up shop.

For nearly a year large trucks have hauled product in and out of Piney Woods Pellets using a dirt road.

"The dust is getting in the material, and it's causing issues for Piney Woods Pellets,"said Lance Pearson, District 3 Supervisor. "So three days a week, if it ain't raining, we try to we try to keep this road wet down."

Stone County supervisors say it became more important than ever to get a section of Old Highway 49 paved when Piney Woods Pellets started talking expansion.

District 5 Supervisor Dale Bond said, "Piney Woods Pellets, which is the existing industry, here is talking about expanding their business as well as maybe putting in another business. "

Supervisors say paving and widening the one mile section of roadway will cost $714,000. Fortunately, the county has received enough in grants from the Mississippi Development Authority, Economic Development Authority and the Stone County Economic Development Partnership to cover expenses.

"Without the grants we would not be able to do it at all," said Bond. "We could not use state aid funds because this is not an existing state aid route. Then we stared looking at grant funds and fortunately, it looks like we're going to be approve on all of them."

Once the dirt road gives way to black top, supervisors believe more economic development won't be far behind.

Wendell Patton is the supervisor for District 3.  'We have two more industries that's wanting to come down there and this will help bring in more industry. Put more people to work and that's what we always look for. More people working."

"It can help take the tax burden off the people," said Pearson. "Because in Stone County, the majority of the it, the tax base is from the people."

Stone County Supervisors say the road paving will also benefit about a dozen home owners who live along the Old Highway 49. Officials hope to project will go out for bid in the summer.

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