County to make plans on building mega-site park

By Theo Tate
Posted 7/8/24

The Greater Montgomery County Economic Development Council and the Montgomery County Commission have teamed up to make plans to create a mega-site industrial park in Montgomery County.

The …

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County to make plans on building mega-site park


The Greater Montgomery County Economic Development Council and the Montgomery County Commission have teamed up to make plans to create a mega-site industrial park in Montgomery County.

The project will be constructed in the area around the I-70 and Highway 19 intersection. According to the Commission’s two-page rationale on the importance of a mega-site park in the county, that area was selected based on the county’s excellent highway connectivity, major rail line, access to utilities and the power availability from the substation in New Florence.

“Logistically, this is a beautiful spot, right on the interstate and right on the railroad,” 2nd District Commissioner Doug Lensing said. “What’s not to love?”

M&H Architects, a firm based in St. Louis, was hired to develop the master plan. The County Commission meets with the firm every other week during commission sessions for plan updates.

“The consultant who is developing that master plan is making really good progress,” said Steve Etcher, a consultant of the GMCEDC. “Obviously, there is a lot that goes into developing such a plan. They got a lot of it done.”

1st District Commissioner Dave Teeter said he hopes the creation of the mega-site park will help current adults and younger residents continue to live in Montgomery County and raise their families. Recently, the University of Missouri Extension did a study and found that Montgomery County is aging.

“If we don’t find ways to hang on to younger people, we’re going to wake up and wonder what happened,” Teeter said. “We don’t want that. I understand some people don’t want to change from something that they’ve been used to having all of their lifetime.”

According to the Commission’s rationale, the county received a grant to develop a comprehensive/master plan for the mega-site park after it was chosen to create one. When the project is created, landowners will have the option to sell their property.

Etcher said a New Florence resident named Charles Heller was against having the county build a mega-site park.

“He’s a property owner on the mega-site,” Etcher said. “I talked with Charles. What we keep trying to make sure it’s really clear to people is this is a plan that will take years, if not decades, to come into fruition. If a property owner wants to participate in the project, that’s fantastic. They’re welcome to. If they don’t want to participate, that’s perfectly fine. It’s their property. They can do with it as they absolutely wish to do with it. We’re not, under any circumstances, going to use eminent domain to take somebody’s property. That’s where some of the emotions are coming from regarding the mega-site.”

Etcher said he has been getting positive feedback from county residents about the project, which will help attract industrial opportunities to the community.

“We don’t want to grow, but if we’re going to grow, we want to control how we grow,” Etcher said “Having a plan to direct the types of growth where we want is really important for the future generations. That way, we don’t respond to what the markets do. We don’t become the next interchange of I-70 with just a ton of retail and hospitality services, but it’s a deeper economy. We got good paying jobs here. People like the idea that somebody is out there thinking and planning for the future.”

An open house meeting was held on Dec. 7 at Montgomery County Middle School to discuss the plans of the mega-site park. Etcher said there will be more open meetings about the project in the future.

“We want the people to feel like they understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and how it impacts them, how they can participate and how they can stay out of the project,” he said. “We want people to feel like we’re being clear about our intentions.”


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