Holland Ware inks agreement with Fla. railway

by W. Winston Skinner

The Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation has signed a letter of intent with the Port St. Joe Port Authority for the Ware organization to transport materials via the Florida port and the Apalachicola Northern Railway.

Holland Ware is a businessman from Hogansville. He has vast landholdings - including property in Coweta County. The foundation has its headquarters in Fayetteville.

The Florida agreement hinges on the port channel being dredged and improvements to the railway being completed.

The foundation is the third company this year to express an interest - through a letter of intent - in using the port and rail systems, provided they are operational in the near future.

'The port authority's number one priority is to create jobs for the region,' says Leonard Costin, chairman of the Port St. Joe Port Authority.

Costin said the letter of intent from the Ware Foundation 'demonstrates a growing commitment by businesses to use the port and AN Railway, helping create jobs in several counties in Northwest Florida.' He added funding must be secured 'to make the necessary infrastructure improvements so we can bring these businesses and jobs to our region.'

'With our large acreages from Georgia through Florida and our granite, sand and timber holdings, we have an even greater interest in the revitalization of the Port of Port St. Joe as we discuss the potential of having a port that accommodates heavy bulk cargo operational by the end of 2014 - combined with the understood commitment from the State of Florida to build railroad access,' says Brenda L. Thueson, trustee for the Ware Foundation.

Guerry Magidson, chairman of the Gulf County Economic Development Alliance, said he is 'enthusiastic about the potential business' the foundation 'is bringing to Gulf County.'

The Ware Foundation owns approximately 100,000 acres in the Port St. Joe area. The Ware organization could transport 1.5 million tons of rock and sand annually via the railroad there. Foundation officials have expressed an interest in transporting rock from Georgia to Port St. Joe and then transporting sand it owns in the Port St. Joe area to concrete plants located in Atlanta.

The foundation's timber from the Northwest Florida region might also be transported to a wood pellet production facility to be pelletized and then shipped from the port.

Coweta County tax records show the Ware Foundation owning 24 tracts - including parcels on Bill Cline Road, Bob Wilson Road, Coweta-Heard Road, Holbrook Road, Martin Girls Road and Midway Road.

In 2010, Holland Ware was recognized as the 16th largest private landowner in the United States. Ware has given millions to cancer research and animal protection causes.

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