The long-awaited rail spur for Custom Polymers in Elm Street Industrial Park has passed the last hurdle toward construction.

Thursday, the Limestone County Industrial Development Board and Athens City Council granted a railroad easement to the company and clarified a payment process utilizing company, city, county and grant funds.

The company, which leases a city spec building in the park, uses recycled plastic to produce pellets used in the manufacturing of bottles, clothing, fencing and benches.

City attorney Shane Black explained to the Industrial Development Board that the company is growing beyond expectations.

“They are up to 55 employees,” said Black. “They are running at 70-percent capacity and are looking to going to 100 percent and expanding.”

Black said the city expects a further follow-up when the company purchases the 50,000-square-foot building. He said the railway would remain under the city and officials could decide on whether the city would retain it.

Custom Polymers received a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant to build a rail spur to serve the plant. Because of delays incurred by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the agency, which coordinates the grant, the company missed the timeline for building the rail spur.

Athens and the Limestone County Commission pledged local matching funds of $508,800 for the project.

Black, said under the newly approved terms of the grant, the company would pay $302,500, followed by the city and county matching portion, before the grant funds are expended. If there are any remaining costs, Custom Polymers will pay for overruns.

Budget hearings

The City Council also conducted budget hearings for General Fund Departments Thursday. The News Courier will publish the results of those hearings in its Saturday edition.

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