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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Sikeston offering building for free

Friday, September 9, 2005

Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall, Scott County Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn and Sikeston Department of Economic Development Director Ed Dust look over the old Essex building.
SIKESTON - When Hurricane Katrina blew across the Gulf Coast, it left millions homeless. But Katrina left even more without jobs as businesses closed due to flood and wind damage, lack of electricity and even the ability to ship their products because of impassable roads and railroad tracks.

Some Scott County and Sikeston officials believe they have a solution to keep at least one of those businesses running and workers employed. They are offering a vacant building free of charge for the temporary relocation of a company from ravaged Gulf Coast.

"We are going to make it available. This is our way of doing what we can as a city," said Ed Dust, economic developer for Sikeston.

The building being offered is the former Essex site, which was given to Sikeston by the company. The 196,500-square-foot building includes six loading docks and three overhead doors.

Because of Sikeston's access to Interstate 55, a company would easily be able to make a move from the effected area of the Mississippi Delta, Dust noted. Also he pointed out the building has access to rail service and is near the airport.

According to Dust the building is fully functional, a company would just need to come in and turn on the lights to be operational. He estimated a company could be up and running within 30 days.

Dennis Ziegenhorn, First District commissioner for Scott County, initially proposed the idea which is backed by the other commissioners. He said he was pleased his hometown was the first to pick up on it.

Ziegenhorn emphasized the offer is simply a temporary solution for a business looking for a way to get back on its feet as recovery efforts continue. "We are not trying to steal a business away from some other county," he said. "We will tell them, bring your own employees. This is just another way we can help."

Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall agreed. "We are not trying to take advantage of a situation. After all, we live here in an area that is prone to earthquakes. We have some sympathy for these people. Maybe some day they might return the favor," he said.

Currently the city and county officials are working to get the word out about the availability of the building to a company in need of a temporary location. Ziegenhorn said he has already heard from one local businessman who said he would let one of his southern competitors know about it and from a hurricane survivor in Scott County who said he would send word back to his hometown.

The mayor hopes others will spread the word as well. "If you know anybody who might need such a facility, let them know," he said.

The men agreed that six months in the Sikeston facility might make a difference whether a business or industry is forced to close for good or is able to continue and survive. They also emphasized, they look at it as a temporary solution for a company.

"Everyone is looking for ways to help and this is our way," said Marshall. "We will do what it takes, whether it is going down there to talk to a company or helping them move."

Added Ziegenhorn: "This is just another way to say we care."