Helena Chemicals looks to build facility in Richmond County

A deal between Richmond County and one of the nations largest suppliers of agricultural chemicals and crop services is set for public discussion this week.

On March 14, county supervisors will hear from citizens about the proposed upcoming sale of 10 acres of property, located at the industrial park in Warsaw off of the Rte. 360 bypass, to Helena Chemicals who plans to use the lot as a storage and distribution facility.

“The Richmond County Commerce Park has been available for quite some time and the  [board] has placed a renewed effort on trying to market the property and bring new businesses to…Warsaw and [the county],” said Richmond County Administrator Morgan Quicke in a March 11 letter. “When Helena Chemical approached the county about the possibility of acquiring land at the commerce park, we were excited and we immediately began working with representatives from the company.”

However, not all of the town’s residents were as enthused, with many wondering how a chemical storage facility located near proposed YMCA youth soccer fields, the newly constructed Little League facility and many residences hooked up to the same water and sewer system would benefit them.

However, Quicke said that the county felt that the company would “support one of our top industries in the region, agriculture, in an environmentally safe way.”

Quicke added that site plan construction was still in its infancy and there was no way to determine how it would affect the enticement of future businesses to the site.

He also noted that the proposed facility would create at least five new jobs in the area, while encouraging more business to come to the region.

Additionally, the facility would provide a local supplier of many farmers’ needs who would otherwise have to travel outside the region to purchase necessary work products.

“Anytime a new business moves to the community it is certainly beneficial to the county, especially when it is a business that will support an already crucial industry,” Quicke said, adding that the board was working hard to sell additional parcels in the commerce park and currently has several interested parties.

The county bought the Commerce Park, totaling 56.25 acres, in 1992 for $425,500. Since then, over $300,000 has been spent by the county on improvements, including the addition of stormwater, road, water and sewer lines with similar and separate contributions from the town.

Additionally, over $2.25 million of federal grant money was invested into the property for economic development purposes.

The county has agreed to sell the land to Helena for $18,000 per-acre, something Quicke said was within the county’s target zone for sale.

Recent land sales of similar properties back Quicke’s assertion.

He added that the addition of Helena would be a benefit to the community and a boon to local farmers and the region’s economy.

The county will hold a public input session regarding the sale this Thursday, March 14, 7 p.m. at the county meeting room adjacent to the Sheriff’s Office.

Posted on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:33 am