Neil Hightower announced he would be stepping down as Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority at the end of the year during Monday’s IDA board meeting. Hightower has served in that capacity for the last four years and stepped up to fill in when the board was without an Executive Director.
“I have given this a lot of thought,” said Hightower, “and I’ve done the best I could these last four years, but I have come to the conclusion that it is time to turn this over to someone else.”
Hightower went on to thank Mayor Hays Arnold and the rest of the Thomaston City Council for appointing him to the IDA board and to the board for making him chairman. He stated he has thoroughly enjoyed the time he has served and considers it to have been a very fun experience.
“I feel like we have had some good things to happen. We’ve completed the rail spur, the industrial park is GRAD certified and there have been three bonds issued with Quad Graphics, Criterion Technology and Animal Health and Sciences. We have not made all the progress that I had hoped, but I feel the IDA is in great shape with Kyle (Fletcher) as the Executive Director.”
Mayor Hays Arnold thanked Hightower on behalf of the board for all of his hard work over the years.
“It was you who stepped up and got the GRAD certification, and you spent hours, upon hours when we had no director filling in that position. We appreciate you and we are going to miss you.”
Mr. Hightower will continue to serve as chairman of the IDA board until the end of the year; at that time another appointee will be selected by the City Council.
In other business, Executive Director Kyle Fletcher updated the board on several prospects for the area. Projects Quadrangle and Solid Grey are still ongoing and involve an aerospace industry and automotive industry respectively. She also noted that Thomaston was selected as a finalist for Project Calstar, however signs are pointing the industry will be locating elsewhere. According to Fletcher, the company was very interested in the area, but the incentives offered elsewhere were too big of a draw. Expansions for the company were mentioned and Fletcher is hopeful Thomaston will be high on the list once again. Being selected as a finalist has also garnered attention from several project managers on the state level.
Also during the meeting, a farm lease was approved for Miller Farms for acreage in the industrial park for $1,800.