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Council paves way for new company

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The City of Decatur is paving the way – literally – for a Colorado-based hydro-excavating company to move its national headquarters to Decatur.

The City Council on Monday night OK’ed a zoning change, a re-plat and an economic incentive package to put H2X in a permanent 12,000-square-foot building to be constructed at Mill and Stratton in the northeast part the city.

The company is already operating with 12 employees in temporary quarters off Farm Road 51 South.

The council approved on first reading a zoning change that will allow property owner C.L. Gage Jr. to build the facility for H2X to lease. That facility, which will be both office and warehouse, will eventually house at least 30 employees and a fleet of high-tech trucks that cost around $350,000 each.

The trucks allow H2X crews to excavate trenches using high-pressure water, vacuuming out the water and soil slurry at the same time, leaving a clean, precise excavation without posing a danger to fiber-optic cables, phone lines, gas pipelines, etc. that may be buried in the area.

A $280,000 economic incentive package approved last week by the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) also got the council’s blessing on first reading. It includes $100,000 once the trucks have been registered in the city and the current 12 employees have been verified, and another $100,000 once the building is finished and the city has issued a certificate of occupancy.

The EDC will also pay the city up to $80,000 to improve Stratton Street so that the company’s trucks can use it to access the new building.

Within five years, the company is required to have at least 30 employees.

No one spoke during a required public hearing to change the zoning on the approximately 3.7-acre tract from multi-family residential to thoroughfare business. The council approved that on first reading, and it will be on the agenda for final approval in January.

“This is a much more appropriate zoning for this area,” City Manager Brett Shannon told the council. “There used to be an old two-story apartment building here years ago. It was taken down, but there’s been nothing in this area that would spur a zoning change until now.”

Mayor Martin Woodruff said this was the first zoning change request in the area since the current Zoning Master Plan was set up in 1975.

Property owners in the area were notified of the proposed change, but no responses were received on that or a replat application submitted by Gage to facilitate further development in the area.

EDC Director Jody Adams introduced company founders and owners Mike and Kelly Clark and gave the council a brief overview of its operations.

“I trust these guys,” Adams said. “They’ve made a commitment to be in Decatur and to hire people.”

RECEPTION FRIDAY FOR RETIRING AIRPORT MANAGER

Mike Sayers, who has managed Decatur Municipal Airport for the past 14-and-a-half years, will be honored with a reception 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Decatur Civic Center.

Sayers is retiring at the end of December.

The public is invited to drop by the Civic Center on West U.S. 380 for the come-and-go reception.

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