Skip to Content

Etowah County breaks ground on 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank at NEAR Megasite

August 16, 2023 · Announcements, Projects

Etowah County Megasite

Construction is underway on a new elevated water tank at the 1,100-acre Northeast Alabama Regional (NEAR) Megasite in Etowah County, marking an important step in readying the site for industrial prospects. The 500,000-gallon water tank will be essential for tying into water service from Rainbow City, which joined in a partnership last year with the County Commission to provide water and sewer infrastructure services.

Officials from the Etowah County Commission, Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, Alabama Department of Commerce, Norfolk Southern Railway, Alabama Power Company, Rainbow City, and other elected officials and members of the community celebrated the milestone with an official groundbreaking ceremony at the site on Tuesday, August 15.

“During my time as a member of Congress I have seen a lot of new industrial developments,” Congressman Robert Aderholt said. “But this next phase at the NEAR Megasite, which will include a large capacity water tank, is different in just the sheer scale of the project. With well over 1,000 acres and a trained, available workforce, this development, the Megasite, will be transformative to not just Etowah County, but to the whole of the Northeast Alabama region. This will pay dividends to future industry, the greater community, and to individuals who call this area home for at least the next half-century and probably long after.”

“On behalf of the County Commission, I’d like to say thank you to our partners who have made this day possible,” said Etowah County Commission President Craig Inzer. “This next phase of water and sewer construction at the NEAR Megasite will greatly improve the marketability of the 100-acre pad, putting us in the perfect position to land that next big industrial prospect.” 

Located ideally between Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, the NEAR Megasite is the largest tract of industrial property in north Alabama. Wholly owned by Etowah County, the site features more than a mile of Norfolk Southern rail on-site and two miles of frontage along Interstate 59.

Etowah County recently received $3 million through the Growing Alabama Credit program, continuing its site development partnership with Norfolk Southern and the State of Alabama, to construct the water tank. “Norfolk Southern Railway is a proud partner and investor in the development of the Etowah County NEAR Megasite,” said Daniel Parker, Norfolk Southern Senior Industrial Development Manager. “This Growing Alabama investment will help support the solution to the site’s biggest challenge and ultimately afford future industry speed to market.”

Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC) architecture and engineering firm has worked closely with Etowah County for many years on planning and engineering for the site, in addition to serving as the engineer for the water tank project. Phoenix Fabricators & Erectors is constructing the water tank, which will feature the NEAR Megasite logo. Construction on the water tank is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

“The addition of the water tank is a critical piece of the infrastructure needed to solidify the NEAR Megasite as the premier industrial site in the South,” David Hooks, Gadsden-Etowah IDA Director, said. “We are extremely excited about the doors it opens for recruiting industry to Alabama and Etowah County specifically.” 

The water tank will be added to the list of infrastructure selling points established or planned for the site, including the following:

Click here to learn more about the NEAR Megasite.