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by Patty Cheffey
With the approval from the Marion County Commission, the Marion Ralls County Port Authority can develop a public port terminal on the Mississippi River at West Quincy.
The Marion County Commission approved the rezoning request from commercial to industrial unanimously during their meeting Monday.
The rezoning affects 87 acres situated south of U.S. 24, along the river.
Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the port authority, said right now industrial development is planned, and several industries have already contacted him about possible development in the area.
Although they had looked at other locations, the area rezoned would provide barge, rail and truck services and is “well positioned to provide multi-modal connections to enhance the economic vitality of the Tri-State area,” Mehaffy said.
Mehaffy also noted that while a slack water port is eventually planned, for the time being a conveyor would be built for access to the river.
The port authority is also in the process of seeking land disturbance permits to prepare ground for industries.
“Three out of state companies have already expressed an interest, and one has written a letter of support for our grant,” he added, noting the port authority is seeking a PIDP grant.
He also noted MoDOT has committed $5 million for the match of that grant.
While there was some concern during the planning and zoning phase of the project about increased traffic on U.S. 24 through West Quincy, Mehaffy said “efforts would be made to work with the Missouri Department of Transportation about improving safety, such as through the addition of deceleration and accelerations lanes at the access junction.”
When asked, Mehaffy noted that as a public entity, the port authority will not be paying taxes on that property. Once businesses build on it those businesses will pay taxes.
In other business, the commissioners approved moving $475,000 to General Revenue, which was a budgeted item.
They also signed paperwork for a lot line change in the Red Oak Subdivision, which had originally asked for a variance.
Teya Stice, county coordinator, reported the flooring was partially done at the Hannibal Courthouse with the rest to be completed this weekend.