Demopolis seeks $14M grant to build port - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Demopolis seeks $14M grant to build port

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DEMOPOLIS, AL (WSFA) -

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 Grayson.

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," said Grayson.

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 years ago.

"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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