A date has been set for Portobello America to break ground in Baxter.
Mayor John Martin said after a meeting last week with architects, the tile and ceramics manufacturer has indicated construction will begin in August.
“We’re very excited about that,” Martin said. “It’s been something we’ve waited on for a couple of years, but we understand why the problem was as far as the COVID and environmental issues, but they are ready to start.”
City Engineer Tom Bennett said the city has submitted paperwork for the needed environmental permits to expand utilities to the Diddy Road site. Martin said the permits should come back in about 30 days in order to start the bid process.
“All the utilities are coming through a grant through ARC and EDA,” Martin said. “Our engineer said that they are getting ready to led the contracts out for that, but mostly everything we are putting out there is grant money.”
T-DOT’s right-of-way plan still needs to be submitted to begin the land acquisition phase for the site. Most of the utility work is being paid through a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
An 8-inch water line currently leads to the site and needs to be upgraded to a 12-inch line extending the sewer system.