BY JOHN MULLEN

Baldwin County has a new partner in continuing efforts to recruit businesses to the shovel-ready Mega Site industrial park on Interstate 65 near Bay Minette.

Company officials from CSX Corp. have been working with Lee Lawson of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance and the Baldwin County Commission to achieve the CSX Select Site designation.

“This is a process we went through to understand how we can better work with them and to elevate our site into a more rarified air,” Lawson said. “About 10 years ago now, CSX did a network-wide analysis for large-scale advance manufacturing sites along their railroads and there are only about five sites identified.”

The goal of the Select Site designation is to help land new businesses at the Mega Site to add jobs in the county, as well as potential rail customers, Rashard Howard of CSX told the commission.

“This is something that’s important and near and dear to us because we understand making these CSX Select Site announcements draws a lot of attention to the site with hopes of landing an optimal customer,” Howard said.

The 3,009-acre Baldwin site was first designated in July 2011. It is considered shovel ready because all utilities are already in place, it is adjacent to a major interstate highway and it has mainline CSX rail service. The site is owned by the county.

“With CSX, we’ve been working on this a long time, this commission has, along with Economic Development,” Commissioner Skip Gruber said. “It’s great to have partners like CSX supporting the Mega Site. It’s going to help us in the future when people looking at the site want to make this their home.”

In other business:

• The county also signed BRATS transportation contracts for fiscal year 2017-18 with AltaPointe Health Systems, ARC Baldwin County and the Baldwin County Council on Aging, and two with Coastal Alabama Community College for courier and transportation services.

• Awarded a $145,000 bid to Sun Coast Builders Inc. for the purchase and installation of a 60-by-125-foot storage building in Robertsdale for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. Money for the building will come from federal Asset Forfeiture Program funds.

• Agreed to pay $47,869 to Black Box Network Services to provide call monitoring management for the commission. The 2017 budget provided for about $27,000 of the cost and the other $20,000 will be provided by the circuit clerk, according to county documents.

• Received a staff recommendation to accept a quote from Kemko for $27,892 to construct a 40-by-40-foot storage building at the county landfill in Loxley. It will be used for the Litter Patrols project.

• Staff recommended the commission accept a quote from All Pro Sound for $45,991 to upgrade the audio/video system in commission chambers and $14,457 to CDW-G for cameras and racks. Money for this project will come from the cable franchise fees reserve.