Marshall Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) recently received the nod of approval from city commissioners to spend up to $1.275 million for the final development costs for Gateway Park.

MEDCO Executive Director Donna Maisel said the remaining acreage needs to be developed in order to attract more prospective businesses.

“We’re developing land to get it ready to recruit,” Maisel explained in a telephone interview, following the meeting.

“There’s potential for up to three large developments out there, however the beauty of our engineering design plans is it can be divided,” she said.

Gateway opened in 2012. Maisel said businesses currently located in the already developed part of the park include Davis Chemicals, Royalty Well Service and Jack Rabbit Offroad.

“Rasa Floors is finishing their development out there and Davis Chemicals has a business out there,” she said. “Royalty Well Service and Jack Rabbit Offroad are on the other side, (but) that is part of the park as well.”

“This,” Maisel said of this final development phase of the project, “will finish out the park, and hopefully we can have three new businesses out there.”

She noted that the commission asked back in 2012 to develop the property in stages. This is the final stage.

“That is approximately 45 acres left in there that is for development,” she said.

Being located off of Interstate Highway 20 and US Highway 59, Maisel said the park is ideal for a distribution center.

“We’re working very diligently on that effort,” said Maisel.

She said they did accept bids and received six replies for the development project.

“So in summary, for the project cost, the park development which includes dirt movement, concrete road, seven-inch concrete, water and sewer extensions, fire hydrants, etcetera, has come in a bid in the amount of $955,343,” Maisel said.

The low bidder was local contractor, Rayford Truck and Tractor.

“They use local subcontractors wherever possible and they have done work for MEDCO and the city before as well,” Maisel noted.

“And then the remaining part of the budget is for construction management fees, soil and concrete testing, other utilities to be put back into the surrounding area and a construction contingency, so total proposed project cost is $1.275 million,” she explained.

Maisel said MEDCO knows with great certainty that the project will come in under-budget, however.

“We know we will come in under-budget, but we want to make sure that if we encounter any unforeseen issues that there’s enough in the budget to cover there without having to come back, delay the project and ask again,” she said. “While we’re never expecting any (contingencies), you never know; nothing is 100 percent.”

Maisel said MEDCO is grateful for the city’s support.

“One of the things that I think is so significant is that the relationship that MEDCO has with the city is so strong that they voted unanimously to support us in this; and the potential of this project is just limitless since it’s right off of I-20 and (Highway) 59,” said Maisel. “It’s unlimited potential for us of what we can do and projects that we can help bring to town.

“So we’re very excited about this and the opportunity to be finished, because without leveling the dirt, the majority of the companies looking to do development won’t wait six months to get started,” she said. “They want to get started right away.”

Maisel said MEDCO is going to use 227,000 cubic yards of dirt to develop the land.

“That’s a lot,” she said. “We’re using all of our own dirt.

“We’re just redistributing the dirt and compacting it to be ready for development,” she said. “And then we’re finishing the road and the water and sewer extensions for the city to serve that area.”

She noted that MEDCO will pay for all city permits.

Maisel said while the remaining acreage of land is large enough for some pretty large-sized buildings, a hill on the property has presented a challenge, which is why the development project is necessary.

“It’s big enough that previous prospects are not willing to wait for development,” she said. “It has to be developed first and have all the infrastructure in place to be able to go forward.”

The development plans will include a gravel drive for an emergency exit only onto Martin Lake Road.

“The road will be concrete and the cul-de-sac will be concrete,” she added.

Maisel said the emergency access to Martin Lake Road will be restricted except for emergency vehicles.

“The reason for that is the property is surrounded by companies that are in the gas field and we desire for them not to damage the park and start trying to cut through and further deteriorate the new development,” she said.

Maisel said a preconstruction meeting has been set for next week. The kickoff of construction will begin immediately after, weather permitting.

“We should be finished by January, February,” Maisel said. “After all the dirt is moved, we will be reseeding it with grass and watering that and getting it established. We’ll do it in pieces. We should have a really pretty area full of grass and lawn looking (nice).”