FAIRMONT — Exit 10 on Interstate 95 has the potential to become the site of the world’s largest truck stop and travel center, according to prospective developers.
Retired Brig. Gen. William C. Kirkland and retired Command Sgt. Maj. George Hogan, principals in the company Alb3 Consulting, Research & Management LLC, told members of the Fairmont Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that they have been studying the exit for the past 27 months, and that they could build a truck stop with between 1,500 and 2,000 parking spaces, making it the “No. 1” truck stop in the world.
“As a company we actually looked at three exits on the interstate, and Exit 10 beat out Exits 41 and 54 because of geography,” said Kirkland, the company’s chief operating officer. “Twenty million dollars a year could be brought in on that one location, and 250 to 300 jobs could be created.”
His truck stop will not be “average,” Kirkland said.
“We want to make the truck driver the centerpiece of the environment,” he said.
His company is not trying to compete with existing businesses in Fairmont, Kirkland said. The plan is to establish a 150,000- to 200,000-square-foot truck stop that will include such amenities having on site a physician, chiropractor, optometrist and dentist.
Other amenities would include a food drive-through designed to accommodate tractor-trailer rigs, a barber shop and nail salon, availability of state Department of Transportation physicals for drivers, a drivers’ lounge that includes a theater, religious services, three restaurants, and a hotel that includes a restaurant.
There also would be a large number of diesel pumps, a 50-space recreational vehicle park, in-house security, a 25-acre solar farm, and a helipad, Kirkland said.
The commissioners looked favorably on the proposed plan, even though they were unaware the presentation was going to be made. The Alb3 officials were invited to the meeting by Commissioner Charles Kemp.
At Kirkland’s request, the commissioners agreed to meet with Kirkland in closed session within the next few days. He would like to give all the numbers that indicate how successful the project would be and the significant effect it would have on Fairmont and the surrounding area, Kirkland said.
Commissioner Monte McCallum said before the Alb3 presentation was made that he has been contacted by foreign investors who indicated they may be interested in helping finance infrastructure upgrades, including sewer and water, needed to make development of the Exit 10 area possible.
Town Manager Katrina Tatum suggested the town first seek government funding.
“Private investors will charge a lot more interest,” she said.
Fairmont acquired 300 acres around Exit 10, which is five miles outside of town, on June 29 when a satellite annexation bill was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper.
Local officials are banking on the prospect that hotels, a major truck stop and restaurants eventually will be located in the area that is now farmland.
In other business:
— Three local job fairs were scheduled. They will be held on Aug. 23, for Amedisys; Sept. 20, for Pepsi Ventures; and Oct. 4, co-sponsored by the N.C. Career Work Center in Lumberton, for 25 different employers.
The first two fairs will be held in the Town Hall courtroom from 10 a.m. to noon. The third fair will be held at the town’s Heritage Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
— Commissioners heard an update on the reorganization of the South Robeson Rescue Unit, now known as the Fairmont Area EMS and Rescue Inc.
The company now has a new board of directors, a new identity, a new mission statement, new bylaws and gives compensation to emergency medical technicians, advanced EMTs and paramedics.
Since March, the squad has grown from six members to 34 members.
— Commissioners approved $3,100 for a mobile sound system for the council room on Town Hall’s second floor.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.