By Alton Porter
Development of the Crockett Industrial Park is showing signs of progress as the facility for one of three currently planned entities is under construction.
Building of the future Muscles & Curves Gym structure, located on land purchased on Crockett Industrial Park property off East Loop 304, is underway and James Gentry, executive director of the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC) hopes this will lead to development of the entire roughly 90-acre park.
Muscles & Curves Gym proprietors purchased the future site of the gym from the CEIDC, which owns the park, and preliminary construction on the new Muscles & Curves Gym facility began several weeks ago.
The other two facilities currently planned to be built on land in the industrial park are a Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram of Crockett auto dealership by owners Bill and Marinda Sweatt and others, and a firefighters training facility by the Houston County Firefighters Association and the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2.
Land for the car dealership was cleared some time ago and the owners have received a commitment to provide 85-percent financing from Chrysler Capital, according to Gentry. He said the future dealership's proprietors are seeking to obtain a commitment for the other 15-percent of financing from a Crockett-area bank.
Muscles & Curves Gym is currently located on North 4th Street in Crockett and will be relocated to the Crockett Industrial Park site when construction of the new building is completed.
Cement for the concrete slab for the new facility was poured on Sept. 15 and erection of the steel frame of the building's structure began on Oct. 2.
"Building of the structure is coming along just exactly the way we planned," said Eunice Martinez-Kitchen, manager of the gym. "Our target opening date is mid-January or late January at the latest.
"This is our investment in Houston County and Crockett, Tex., to hopefully motivate economic development and better mental and physical well-being."
Martinez-Kitchen added, "When you're physically fit and you feel good about yourself, then you have a more positive attitude. It improves your attitude toward life in general. You're just generally a happier person.
"We've been in business 26 years, so we've seen from personal experience what physical fitness—the benefits of it—for many, many people who have been customers and have become friends.
"We look forward to many more years of service to our community. This facility is not just for those of us who own it. It's our gift to Crockett and Houston County. Everyone can enjoy this. This is our gift, as in a partnership, with the county. This is our investment.
"We encourage local residents to support local businesses. The owners of Muscles & Curves are local people—residents of Houston County and Crockett, Tex.—and support local businesses. They live here. They bank here. They shop here. And we support our local economy."
Gentry said, "They (Muscles & Curves Gym contractors) laid the pad several weeks ago and started steel going up on it last week. That (Muscles & Curves Gym) is the one that's going right now. I'm very happy and optimistic seeing that happening. And the impetus of getting started across the street (on the building of the dealership) will make my heart happier right now.
"I realize this is all a part of a process, so it's just a matter of getting the process complete."
Concerning the dealership, Gentry said, "We're just waiting for a follow up from the dealership (proprietors). They're just finalizing all their financing. They've got 85 percent of the financing pre-approved by Chrysler.
"And for the remaining portion, they want to try to do something with the banks here in the area. So, they've been in the process of negotiations with banks in the area here for the other 15 percent.
"I got a text (message) from them that they were in the process of just following up with some of the banks here in the area in my last communication with them last week.
"They're trying to do some investments in the area because they're looking at some potential for other business work in the area and want to be part of the community as well."
Concerning improvement of the rest of the Crockett Industrial Park land, Gentry said, "I'm hoping to do some development—clean up of the rest of the park—in such a way that we can present it in such a positive a way that will increase interest in the property.
"As a whole, we have right at 90 acres all together—all the way from 4th Street to 5th Street. And one of the things we are planning to do within this year is some manicuring and cleanup on some of the areas that need to be addressed on both of those streets so that people can see a vision of utilization of those properties."