Harrison County Eyes New Industrial Park

Harrison County's five industrial parks are home to 63 companies. Those businesses provide more than 3,000 jobs for the coast economy.

The county's development commission is looking to add a new industrial park in North Harrison County.

The 500 acre "mega site" is designed to meet the growing need of large companies that demand plenty of space.

More than 200 employees work at Triton Systems in the Long Beach industrial park. The company expanded to the site in 1999.

"We realized we needed more space to manufacture our product," said company spokesman Bill Jackson.

Triton has achieved record sales levels every month this year. Jackson says choosing a site in the industrial park was a "wonderful decision."

"It's a central location for most of our employees. It's off the beaten path of downtown Long Beach. We used to have a lot of big semi tractor trailers trying to find their way to our plant on Railroad. And out here they've got direct access to Highway 90 or I-10," he said.

"We're running out of property for industrial operations," said the deputy director of the Harrison County Development Commission.

Kim Compton oversees the county's five industrial parks. She says the proposed site to the north is well suited for a large development despite some opposition from neighbors.

"There's really no place in the county where you can put together 500 acres where residents aren't somewhere nearby," she said.

Compton and director Michael Olivier told supervisors the lack of a large site is costing the county potential prospects.

Before settling in Hancock County, Wellman Industries first considered Harrison County. But the development commission didn't have enough industrial acreage to meet the company's needs. Right now, the single largest tract that's ready for general industrial development is a 55 acre site in the Bernard Bayou Industrial Park.

"So it is critical. Right now we have nowhere to put a large company," Compton said.

Harrison County supervisors will vote on the rezoning request for the industrial park May 24th.