If a proposed FedEx distribution facility is built on the east side of Greenwood, neighbors are worried about the trucks, traffic and changes it will bring to their area.
Wendy Murphy, who lives in the South Lakes neighborhood near Worthsville and Sheek roads, is concerned trucks will clog up Worthsville Road, changing the dynamic of a road lined with sidewalks often used by pedestrians and bicyclists.
Residents who live near the proposed FedEx center said they favor the new jobs and tax revenue the facility will bring, but are concerned about the impact additional truck traffic will have on the area. FedEx wants to build a 608,000-square-foot distribution center on 237 acres of land northeast of Interstate 65 and Worthsville Road, citing the growing e-commerce industry as why the facility is needed.
Last week, the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission gave its approval for a $17.3 million, 10-year tax break FedEx requested, but the Greenwood City Council still would need to approve it.
Two residents who live near where the FedEx facility is planned spoke at this week’s city council meeting, asking that the city keep them in mind as the project goes forward.
Randy Goodin, who serves as the president of the Concerned Citizens of Southeast Greenwood, and Murphy said residents they have spoken to are fairly evenly split on whether the FedEx project would be good for the community.
Last week, FedEx announced plans to invest $259 million into the project, including $49 million to purchase the land, $110 million to construct the building and $100 million on equipment. If approved, construction would begin in June of 2018, with operations set to begin in June of 2020. By 2024, the new center would create 80 full-time jobs with an average wage of $24.55 an hour and 375 part-time jobs with an average pay of $14.24 an hour. If the company expands the distribution center, which could happen in seven to eight years, the job numbers at the site would double, company representative Debbie Dillinger said.
Residents in favor of the project see good-paying jobs and property tax revenue as beneficial to the community, Murphy said.
Even with the tax break, the project will bring in about $100 million in taxes in the first 25 years, according to projections in the company’s tax break application.
Those opposed to the facility were concerned about an influx of truck traffic on Worthsville Road, especially heading to State Road 37, planned as the future route of Interstate 69, Murphy and Goodin said.
Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers had previously said that he has looked into those concerns and that the city expects truck traffic will likely take I-65 to Interstate 465.
Goodin asked how the roads near the FedEx facility would be improved to handle the truck traffic.
That’s something that has not been decided yet, Campbell said. Property taxes from the FedEx facility would be collected by a recently created tax increment financing, or TIF, district, which when created included plans to set aside money for road improvements on the east side of Greenwood.
Murphy also said the city had gone back on previous promises to not allow distribution facilities in that area.
The land where FedEx is proposed was designated as an area where distribution companies were forbidden, but the city council rezoned the land last month.
“There is a feeling that the council pulled a fast one on us,” she said.
Residents should be able to trust that the city will stick with its development plans, Murphy said.
“Remember, this is our home,” she said.
The development plans the city creates are simply guidelines for what may happen in the area, council president Mike Campbell said. For a company like FedEx, which has a solid reputation and is bringing a sizeable investment to the city, it is appropriate to make an exception to the previous plans, he said.
FedEx is considering opening a distribution center in Greenwood. Here’s a look at some details of the project:
Location: northeast of Worthsville Road and Interstate 65
Cost: $259 million
Size: 608,000 square feet, with room for expansion
Jobs: 80 full-time, 375 part-time
Construction timeline: June 2018 to June 2020
Tax break requested: $17.3 million
Approvals needed: The tax break was approved by the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission and would need two approvals from the Greenwood City Council