By Jerry Underwood
Gadsen, AL — The Growing Alabama Credit program is helping accelerate improvements at the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site through a $5.7 million, multi-phase project facilitated by a partnership between Norfolk Southern Corp., the Etowah County Commission and the State of Alabama.
Railroad company Norfolk Southern is funding Phase II of the improvements at the 1,000-acre site with a $3 million donation. This phase is in addition to site development work that began in 2020 when Norfolk Southern provided $2.7 million in funding through the program.
Phase I of the project includes construction of a 70-acre, pad-ready, rail-served site, relocation of natural gas lines, installation of a new railroad crossing, and extension of the site’s industrial access road.
“On behalf of the County Commission, I’d like to extend our sincere thanks to both Norfolk Southern Corp. and the State of Alabama for making these improvements possible,” said Jamie Grant, the commission’s president.
The second phase of funding from Norfolk Southern will increase the pad size to 100 acres. A new road will be built to connect Canoe Creek Road North and Wesson Lake Road, adding another access point to and from the site.
The project will also include removal of trees between the 100-acre pad and Interstate 59 to start preparing that section of the mega-site for future development.
“The site improvements have resulted in increased interest from companies and site selection consultants,” said Marilyn Lott, economic development director for Etowah County. “Ten requests for information have been received this year with an average of 1,500 jobs and $2.5 billion in capital investment.”
Chris Ingraham, group vice president of Industrial Development for Norfolk Southern, said rail is a key element in the long-term prospects of the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site.
“This further investment for Phase II will help speed up the process of bringing rail access to this project,” he added. “Importantly, it also will help create new jobs and additional business opportunities locally.”
The Alabama Department of Commerce administers the program that allows private companies and individuals to get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to 50% of their total income tax liability for investing in projects approved by the Renewal of Alabama Commission. The program doesn’t require a match from the local community and doesn’t add any additional tax burden to taxpayers.
“The collaborative nature of the project at the site shows how true teamwork can advance our economic development goals in the state.”
“The Growing Alabama Credit is a valuable instrument to elevate economic development potential, and the infrastructure improvements being funded at the Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site are a great illustration of this tool at work,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“Plus, the collaborative nature of the project at the site shows how true teamwork can advance our economic development goals in the state,” he added.
The Little Canoe Creek Mega-Site is owned by the Etowah County Commission. The site earned the Alabama Advantage Site designation and is recognized as a Norfolk Southern Prime Site.
“The site prep plan is part of a recruitment strategy to attract an industry with a large number of high-quality, high-paying jobs by being prepared to offer a development-ready site,” Lott said.
“With a shared vision and collaboration among community leaders, I believe the mega-site will generate significant economic growth in the region.”