Gas line to Shorter complete
Less than three months after the construction start of a natural gas line into Shorter from the Pike Road area, phase 1 of the planned extension is now complete and set to go online by the end of this week. Installed by a contractor for South East Alabama Gas District (SEAGD), the line covered around 7 miles and currently ends in the Shorter Technology Park. The first phase of the extension will provide needed affordable natural gas to Halla Visteon Climate Control (HVCC) for the production of automotive parts at the Shorter Plant.
With the new infrastructure in place, HVCC will undergo a retooling process at the plant to begin using the service. The result will be reduced operating costs for the company and increased production and new jobs at the plant. Just last week, HVCC broke ground on a 70,000 sq. ft. expansion project immediately adjacent to the plant on Town of Shorter land. The effort is the result of a public/private partnership between Shorter, HVCC and a private investment firm. Once completed, the new facility will allow HVCC to centralize product storage and reduce operating costs. It also positions the company to move quickly to expand further for future customers.
A second phase of gas line extension is set to occur in the Town of Shorter within the coming months. That phase of extension would involve boring under I-85 to reach the existing business district at Exit 22. The second phase would allow existing businesses in the area to take advantage of the lesser costing resource versus their current propane use. The extension will position the Shorter to attract other restaurants into the area with the availability of the new resource. There is also an effort nearing completion to complete a new travel center project along the exit to serve the I-85 customer base.
The gas line will add new industrial prospect options for Shorter to compete over. In the past, Shorter has had to turn away interested prospects due to the unavailability of the affordable resource to support production. Shorter and Macon County Economic Development Authority staff are actively recruiting new prospects with a recently completed 40,000 sq. ft. spec. building in the Shorter Tech Park and the added infrastructure. New jobs are sure to come as the local and national economies continue to improve.