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Aberdeen Board Supports Proposal to Prepare Industrial Iron Horse Property

The town of Aberdeen and Moore County are planning to ready 73 acres available in the Iron Horse Industrial Park in Aberdeen for development.

The 128-acre Iron Horse property on Carolina Road has rail access, natural gas, and town sewer and water utilities. Mayor Robbie Farrell called it a “gold mine” waiting for development.

The project proposes Moore County Partners in Progress to purchase 73 acres of the property, a purchase that’s contingent upon Aberdeen and Moore County each contributing $200,000 toward the acquisition.

The land is currently owned by the Three Rivers Land Trust. With Partners in Progress as the owners, it will quicken the pace in preparing the land for a buyer.

Natalie Hawkins, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress, said, “Manufacturers today want a ‘ready-to-go site’, cleared and with an access point. Paired with a $167,670 grant from the North Carolina Railroad Company, the funds from the town of Aberdeen and the county would provide enough money to clear the land, complete light grading and develop a road.”

Aberdeen received the grant last March. It is part of the NC Railroad Company’s Build-Ready Sites Program, which targets rail-served sites in North Carolina ranging from 50 to 100 acres and aims to increase the number of those sites for development for rail-using industries.

“Iron Horse Industrial Park is the best industrial land that we have in Moore County. It has access to rail, natural gas, town water and sewer. It’s going to have a four-lane road when highway 211 is widened as well,” Hawkins said. “I just think this is a good opportunity for the town and the county and Partners in Progress to work jointly together to get this property in a position that a manufacturing client would want to come to.”

Paul Sabiston, Aberdeen Town Manager, said the $200,000 might be raised by taking out a loan or an investment in the land, depending on the final agreement. The Moore County Commissioners have not formally approved the plan, but Sabiston said they have talked positively about moving forward with the property. The next step is for an official deal to be presented to the county, and, if accepted, Aberdeen would hold a second public hearing at the end of February before approving the use of public funds for this project.

“This is not all about Aberdeen; it just happens to be in Aberdeen,” Mayor Robbie Farrell said. “We’re excited about it, and we’re excited because this will help all of Moore County.”

(Original article by Ana Risano, The Pilot)

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