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Lewis closer to having funds for building

by James Fisher

REGIONAL WRITER

WESTON -- Lewis County officials are one step closer to the construction of a building that is expected to help bring new businesses into the area.

Robin Poling, executive director of the Lewis County Economic Development Authority, said Monday she had received verbal confirmation of a state loan for the construction of a 50,000-foot shell building. According to a press release from Gov. Cecil Underwood, the Lewis County authority has received preliminary approval of nearly $1.1 million.

"I haven't seen the actual paperwork yet, but this is something that will be very good for the county," Poling said. "We've been trying to get funding for this project for a couple of years."

Poling said the building, which will be located in the Lewis County Industrial Park near Jane Lew, literally is the shell of a building.

"It's just walls and a roof and gravel floors with drains," she said. "There's no windows, no doors, nothing but the walls and the roof."

Although the building's amenities will be sparse to begin with, Poling said the idea is to give a potential business owner a place to quickly begin operations. The state Economic Development Authority is trying to fund construction of as many of the shell buildings around the state as possible, Poling said.

"A lot of companies coming into an area want to be up and running in 90 to 120 days and it's just not possible to get all the necessary permits and the building constructed in that amount of time," she said. "This way, we get that part of it done for them. It's just a shell that gets the customer close to getting started. They can come in and customize it however they need for their business."

Although the approved loan is for slightly less than the $1.3 million Poling requested, she said she will need to see the documentation before she knows if it will affect the project.

The next step in the process will be to put out bids for an engineering firm.

"It might be a good 90 days before we can get anything started," she said. "I'd like to get it under construction by winter, but that might be a stretch."

Regional writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446.

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