January 28, 2015 Edition

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Freeman strives to
improve economy

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

County Judge Dale Freeman is looking to bring several new industries into Lawrence County in his current term.

"I'm always working towards new industry," Freeman said. "I want to do all I can for the people of Lawrence County."

Freeman was instrumental in getting Birdsong Peanuts to locate in the county and has been working with America Silica to establish a fracturing plant and rock crusher north of Black Rock.

American Silica, based in Brooksville, Fla., mines and processes sand for the oil and gas industry to use in a process known as hydraulic fracturing.

Freeman said the plant, if built, will initially employ 30 people and will process frac sand from mining operations out of Lawrence, Sharp and Independence counties.

The plant would use both trucks and railways to transport material and multiple projects are underway to prepare the area for the new plant.

A rock crusher American Silica is hoping to establish near the plant would supply gravel needed to rebuild County Road 210 in preparation for increased truck traffic.

Neither project has been finalized yet and permits are still required before the company can break ground.

The crusher will employ between 15 and 20 people, according to Freeman, and be a local supply the county can use for road repairs.

Freeman said since he took office, he has made sure to purchase gravel from county pits.

Roads repairs planned

Over the next two weeks, weather permitting, county road department employees will make a push to clear and build up all county roads after a recent flooding.

Roads that have had flooding problems will be assessed and ditches will also be checked. Freeman said there are several roads that need improved drainage that the county will be looking at, including Evergreen Road.

He also said he will be working to acquire funding for some paving across the county.

Freeman said he always considers the taxpayers whenever he authorizes work or purchases a new piece of equipment and that he has been able to stay in budget since he took office.

However, applying for grants and working on a limited budget sometimes causes delays in road improvements.

"I want to thank the people for being patient and working with us on improving the county's roads," Freeman said.

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