Port District continues to hit the ground running four years later
by Terra Temple
Dec 18, 2013 | 1255 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While its work is mostly behind the scenes and out of the public eye, the Massac-Metropolis Port District (MMPD) has not been idle since its creation four years ago.

Since its inception, the corporation has focused on several projects aimed at creating and retaining jobs in Massac County. Its study includes looking at existing industries and their future needs, identifying underused/vacant industrial sites, identifying potential future sites and bringing potential employers to look at areas such as the Metropolis Industrial Park.

History

The MMPD was officially formed on Dec. 16, 2009 when Gov. Pat Quinn came to Metropolis to sign into law Illinois Public Act 96-838 to establish the Illinois Municipal Corporation.

It encompasses the entire county — the Ohio River, the Metropolis Municipal Airport, the railways and the roadways.

With the goal of economic development — primarily creating jobs and strengthening southern Illinois’ economy by increasing the region’s international trade capabilities — the objective of a port district is to develop property for recreational, transportation, agricultural, industrial and commercial purposes through projects that can run the gamut from ports to marinas to dock facilities to industrial plants. Its board has the authority to do things like enter into public/private partnerships, buy or lease property, issue permits and taxation by referendum vote.

The MMPD board consists of seven members — one appointed by each city’s mayor and four appointed by the governor. All have to be Massac County residents. They are uncompensated and serve three year, staggered terms. Members Larry Douglas, Scott Garrett, Richard Kruger, Jason Nyberg, Randall Rushing, Kristy Stephenson and Sue Sandusky held their first official meeting in March 2010.

Development Plan

The district board passed its first resolution in a special called meeting on Dec. 3.

Actually a development plan, the resolution lays out the MMPD’s purpose, along with its rights and powers. Among the activities laid out in the plan:

• The acquisition, construction and operation of one or more port terminal facilities on the Metropolis riverfront within the City of Metropolis.

• Acquire or contract with a shortline railroad company to develop a 1.7 mile spur in Metropolis from the Burlington-Northern Railroad main line to serve riverfront businesses.

• Assisting existing industries along the Ohio riverfront of Massac County with such enhancements as railroad access, expansion, developing underutilized space and/or the development of loading facilities.

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