Air­craft plant may ex­pand to Cov­ing­ton

The Covington News - - Front page - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

The city of Cov­ing­ton took a pre­lim­i­nary step in mak­ing about 25 acres of land avail­able at the Cov­ing­ton Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port for an air­craft assem­bly plant look­ing to ex­pand their busi­ness and pos­si­bly bring­ing 300 more jobs to the area.

The coun­cil voted to ap­prove send­ing out a lease can­cel­la­tion notice to lease owner Stephen Ratch­ford, who leases out about 58 acres of land for a pri­vately owned re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion busi­ness.

City Man­ager Steve Hor­ton said the un­known com­pany un­der the name “Project Quad­ran­gle,” has looked at land south of the run­way near Wil­liams Road. He said the com­pany just wanted to see what kind of land was avail­able and noth­ing was fi­nal­ized.

“I would say they are seek­ing in­for­ma­tion. I wouldn’t call this an ac­tive prospect at this point,” Hor­ton said.

He said ac­cord­ing to the lease agree­ment the city had to give at least a six-month notice to Ratch­ford to can­cel in the event the com­pany de­cided to move for­ward with ob­tain­ing land for their project. He said Ratch­ford has al­ready been no­ti­fied about the lease can­cel­la­tion.

Hor­ton said even if the plant de­cided to go for­ward

with their project, there was still a chance it could op­er­ate on the same prop­erty as the ex­ist­ing com­pany be­cause they were only seek­ing 25 of the 58 acres of land.

Hor­ton said the com­pany es­ti­mated their project would cost about $75 mil­lion.

New­ton County Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Hunter Hall said the com­pany was look­ing to ex­pand and con­tacted the state of Ge­or­gia about what lo­ca­tions were avail­able. He said the state then iden­ti­fied com­mu­ni­ties that were pos­si­ble prospects based on the com­pany’s cri­te­ria for the project.

“The project is in the very, very ini­tial stages of in­quiry. It is quite a long shot and we’ve got sev­eral hur­dles to get through if they were able to con­sider us,” Hall said.

Hall said they don’t know ex­actly what all the com­pany is look­ing for and the com­pany could pos­si­bly be look­ing at other states for the project. But he said it would be a great ad­di­tion to the community.

“We can only con­trol how the community is pre­sented, we can’t con­trol what the com­pany is look­ing for,” Hall said. “It’s a great project, it’s a great job cre­ator and we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing in our power to bring them here.”

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