The city of Fort Deposit will keep its industrial park. Foreclosure threatened the land because the city was having trouble making loan payments. City officials thought more Hyundai supplier plants would locate there, but they didn't.
Thanks to an agreement with a local bank, the $1.7 million dollar debt for the industrial park has been cut to $600,000 dollars. The city will make smaller payments and can start planning for the future.
"We'll pay them $30,000 a year for 20 years," says Fort Deposit Mayor Fletcher Fountain.
He says the debt relief helps city officials focus on the future--to build the town up again after many businesses including their only grocery store closed.
"We need some help. We really need some help," says Fountain.
Most anyone you talk to will in the town will agree, Fort Deposit needs industry and development. Leaders say one big way to make that happen is to put a sewer line in near the I-65 exit.
"The only way we're going to grow back is to start at the interstate and grow back this way [towards town]," adds Fountain.
He says hotels have considered locating near that I-65 exit, but don't because the infrastructure isn't there.
"This city, I'm very concerned about it," says former resident Annie Perdue.
She lights up knowing there are ideas to bring the town back to life.
"The city just needs that prosperity. Motels, eating places, it would just be a blessing," adds Perdue.
"I'm still optimistic," says Fountain.
Many hope the city's best days are still ahead.
Mayor Fountain says city council members are currently working towards securing grant money and a bond issue to pay for a new sewer system.
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