New Levelland Rail Park to have a broad impact on Region - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/14/10

New Levelland Rail Park to have a broad impact on Region

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LEVELLAND, TX (KCBD) - Levelland is leading the way by investing millions to develop the new Levelland Industrial Rail Park.  The "LIRP" will connect businesses to suppliers and customers globally, while contributing to a cleaner and greener environment. 

According to golevelland.com, Levelland's rail customers are served via the West Texas & Lubbock Railway (WTLC) which consists of 107 miles of railroad on two lines extending from Lubbock, TX to Seagraves and through Levelland to Whiteface, TX. Purchased in 2002 by the Permian Basin Railways (PBR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings (IPH), the WTLC underwent major renovation with the creation of the Levelland Ethanol Plant located just six miles east of Levelland. This renovation created a resurgence in rail activity in Levelland and induced the Levelland EDC to develop the Levelland Industrial Rail Park (LIRP).

On Wednesday, the City of Levelland and Levelland Economic Development Corporation hosted a luncheon, presentation, and tour to update the "Partners in Progress" on the status of the Levelland Industrial Rail Park. 

Project engineers provided a presentation and update on the rail park project. The LIRP is a 300-acre tract on the south side of Highway 114 east of the city of Levelland.

Something different about this rail park is that instead of wooden ties being used in the yard, which have a life of about five to seven years, the track will be laid with concrete ties, which should last about 15 years before maintenance is needed. Those ties became available when the struggling economy forced another company to cancel a project.

Construction is still in the early phases. "Our overall goal is to attract $100 million in capital improvements and 1,000 new jobs to the Hockley County seat," says Dave Quinn, Executive Director of the Levelland Economic Development Corp.

Quinn says that when it is completed, the site will have acreage to accommodate 13 businesses along 21,000 track feet, with no road crossings inside the park. He says that this is a benefit for trucks operating in the yard and for the trains waiting to be loaded and unloaded.

Plans show highway access to the east on roads to be built out to FM 3261, or a loop road, Progressive Place, that will open to Texas 114.

The estimated price of the park is $8.6 million, paid for with a combination of $3.3 million in federal stimulus funds, $1.5 million from Levelland cash reserves and $3.8 million in bonds that will be initially repaid with city sales tax revenues until tax increment financing district revenues become available from the site.

Quinn says that not only does he expect this to have a huge impact on Levelland and Hockley County, but Lubbock and the entire region as well.

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