PELL CITY -- The city continues to move forward with the development of Cogswell Industrial Park after being informed that the municipality’s industrial development board will receive a $1.6 million grant for the project.

“This is going to be just what we need,” City Manager Brian Muenger said. “This property is our industrial future.”

Don Smith, executive director for the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, told the City Council on Monday night that the EDC, in partnership with the Pell City Industrial Development Board, had secured a grant to pay for site work at the industrial park.

The 126-acre undeveloped industrial site has been on the drawing board for almost a decade. The industrial park is just north of Eissmann Automotive, off Ed Gardner Drive.

Muenger said the industrial park has a certified AdvantageSite designation, and the ability to complete site preparation work on the property will undoubtedly attract new industries – and jobs.

“I think it is going to be a strong site,” Muenger said. “It has some great elements and good visibility from the interstate.

He said the property also has great access, with available power, water, sewer and natural gas. Economic development officials said industries look for “ready sites,” sites that are ready for construction.

Timber was removed from the acreage about four years ago, and in recent weeks, city workers have continued to clear vegetation from the property.

Birmingham engineer Chris Grace with Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, Cannon, Inc. said the plan is to have a 40-acre flat pad to accommodate a large industry.

Officials said the low bid for the excavation project came in lower than expected, so additional acreage is expected to be prepared for development.

“We’ve probably cleared about 30 acres, but we’re still clearing,” street Superintendent Greg Gossett said. “Whatever the project calls for, that is what we will clear.”

He said the city has one worker with a D5 dozer working on the property. He said city workers will burn the vegetation and debris, once they are pushed into large piles.

Gossett said when the city completes its work, a private company will start moving dirt and leveling the property.

Last week, the Pell City Industrial Development Board approved the low bid submitted by Walker Excavating to complete excavating work and to construct a 40-acre building pad in the industrial park. The bid was for $1.3 million. Officials said the cost includes the grading for a road onto the property.

All grant money must be spent on the project.

Grace said the project is all dirt work.

“There is no paving involved in the work,” he said.

The Pell City Industrial Development Board also approved engineer fees for Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc. in the amount of $65,000. The engineer firm will oversee the project.

The board also approved allowing board Chairman Bob Barnett to negotiate a contract with Terracon Consulting Engineers, which will complete material testing during the site preparation work.

Gossett said the city should complete its portion of the work in two to three weeks, and Walker Excavating is expected to begin moving dirt in November.

The 40-acre industrial site is expected to be completed by the end of May 2018.