The Flanagan South Pipeline is having some indirect positive effects on the areas through which it travels.

The City of Moberly was designated as a regional office. This is the point where many employees are brought before being sent out into the field.

Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Moberly Area Economic Development Vice President David Gaines:

David Gaines

Members of MAEDC expected the influx of workers would have a significant benefit to their hotels and restaurants. “But we’ve seen that economic impact extend into the small business community as well,” said Gaines, “Which was a nice added bonus to having the project come through our part of Missouri.”

They may be able to tell the extent of the project’s effect on the local economy once the sales tax numbers come in. For now, they are able to gauge the impact by some everyday indicators.

“The restaurants have added days of service. Typically, where they were closed on Monday, they are now open for lunch and dinner on Monday. The hotels in the region have added staff to accommodate the need by the workers that are staying in the hotels. And we’ve actually even seen the small business, like our cleaners and horse boarding facilities, receive benefit.”

Gaines estimates that Enbridge has brought about 400 workers to the area.

“It kind of fluctuates with the progress of the pipeline, and the specific work that’s being done. Some of those workers are short-term, here for a month or two or three, depending upon the process. And others are here for as much as a year and a half or longer.”

Moberly has a population of about 14,000, and there are about 24,000 people in Randolph County.

“It’s a nice boost. The payroll that the workers are receiving are trickling through the economy. Not only in Randolph County, but we know that the folks in Macon County are seeing benefit from it in their hotels. And the rest of the region is benefiting from the project as well.”

Construction began in mid-August, and is expected to last into 2014.

Press Release from the Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation

Moberly, MO – Construction of a new petroleum pipeline by Enbridge Pipeline Company through central and northeast Missouri is providing an economic benefit that is reaching beyond what is easily seen. The hundreds of workers brought to the region by several contractors and suppliers to the multi-state project are paying benefits to small business throughout the area

At first blush the equipment situated on nearly 50 acres of farm ground at the intersection of U.S. Highways 24 and 63 seems to be fairly stationary. However, this is the regional headquarters for the multi-billion dollar project that stretches from the Oklahoma to consumers in the Chicago area.

The site located in Moberly, Missouri is the rally point for a multitude of skilled workers each morning before starting a long day working on over a hundred miles of the pipeline as it crosses through the region. “Having Enbridge locate their regional office for the project in our community has been a good strategic move for the region,” said Corey Mehaffy, President of Moberly Area Economic Development. “We have seen a financial impact that spans the entire northeast Missouri region.”

The influx of workers from as far away as Texas into the area is pumping benefits into the local economy. The hotel and the restaurant industry in the area have seen a dramatic increase in business as workers stay and dine in the area.

Other areas of the local economy are also receiving dividends. Local landlords have rented previously vacant homes and apartments. “Our clients have benefited from having the pipeline workers needing places to live for the next several months,” said local R.G. Mongler Real Estate agent Dianne Griffith.

Small businesses such as dry cleaners have also seen new customers. Welders needing heavy starched shirts have been dropping off shirts to Moberly Cleaners. Even a local horse training facility has had a new customer wanting to board his horses brought with him from out of state.

Several local restaurants have added employees and expanded service hours to handle the increase in demand. In addition, several of the companies associated with the project have hired local employees to support their business efforts in the region. Even campgrounds throughout the region have seen an inflow of workers staying in motorhomes as well.

“The increase in activity in the area is also translating into more customers each day in retail stores in the community,” said Mehaffy. “The City and the County are receiving a financial benefit as well from the increased sales tax being collected from worker’s spending dollars in the community.”

The pipeline construction process will last well into 2014 as the project nears completion. The benefit of the project will continue to lift the local economy for some time to come.