Gelean Wicks can see it, feel it and smell it, but knows the Port
of Demopolis is not a reality right now. As a business owner in Linden some 15
miles away, Wicks says there is no doubt such a port would open the floodgates
to more business in the area and not just for her restaurant.
"Those are extra paychecks in the community and it
benefits all of us," said Wicks.
A few days ago county and Demopolis city leaders submitted a grant
application ahead of schedule to the U.S. Department of Transportation with the
hope of getting $14 million, more than enough to get a port up and running.
"Let's play the cards we're dealt," said Mayor Michael
The mayor is convinced this part of west Alabama has a good chance
of getting a water port because of what's already here; the city owns the
land and 200 yards away from the Tombigbee River there is rail and an airport
with a 5,001 feet runway for executives.
"If we get this port we would be one of only three
cities in the state to have all four important modes of transportation. We have
the water, rail, airport and the four-laned Highway 80 a mile from here,"
The mayor says raw materials like steel or ag products would
be transported downstream to places like Mobile or New Orleans.
Economic leaders say this could truly be a game-changer for the
region, specifically the 7 counties surrounding Marengo County. They tell WSFA
12 News the last big business that's come here was a paper mill more than 50
"We already have potential spin-off businesses looking at
this very site.. all told everything involved could be upwards of a $200
million investment with around 2,000 jobs," said Brenda Tuck, the Executive
Director for the Marengo County Economic Authority.
Local leaders say they hope the third time is a charm. This is the third time they've applied for the grant. They should know something by August 1.
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