Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Governor Perdue Announces $8.3 million in OneGeorgia Awards

Governor Sonny Perdue and members of the OneGeorgia Authority Board met December 7 at Southwest Georgia Technical College and approved grants and loans from the OneGeorgia Authority’s portfolio of financing programs.

These awards will assist with a variety of economic development projects in rural Georgia aimed at creating jobs, stimulating new private investment, supporting the retention of existing jobs and enhancing regional competitiveness through capacity-building projects. These projects, along with their respective local leadership representatives, were recognized at the OneGeorgia board meeting.

Company officials and local leaders associated with the most recent EDGE awards were recognized at today’s meeting. The five EDGE awards, totaling $2.5 million, are leveraged against approximately $100 million in total project costs and are projected to create over 677 jobs within the next three years as well as to retain 75 jobs.

Washington-Wilkes Payroll Development Authority / Callaway Farms Manufacturing, LLC

EDGE grant funds will be used to assist with building improvements to support the location of Callaway Farms Manufacturing, LLC (CFM), an animal bedding manufacturer, to Washington. The Company plans to rehabilitate an existing 20-acre site previously occupied by International Paper Company Sawmill. CFM is a privately held company that was created in 2007 by three individuals who have over 75 years of agricultural and business experience. The Company’s principal product will be animal bedding for horses that will be made out of pulpwood and unusable timber procured from a five-county area surrounding Wilkes County.

EDGE Award: $100,000 / Total Project Cost: $4.5 million
50 new jobs in two years / Interstate competition: Jasper, Alabama

Development Authority of Harris County / Hoover Universal, Inc.

EDGE grant funds will be used to assist with site preparation to support the location of Hoover Universal, Inc. (HUI), an auto supply manufacturer, to West Point, Harris County. HUI plans to construct a 127,500 square-foot facility on 27 acres in the Northwest Harris Business Park, which is located six miles from the KIA facility. The Company will manufacture interior automotive components, such as seats and door panels, as a Tier 1 supplier to KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. Hoover Universal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) which was established in 1883. JCI employs over 140,000 worldwide.

EDGE Award: $1 million / Total Project Cost: $35.2 million
310 new jobs in two years / Interstate competition: Alabama

Development Authority of Walton County/General Mills Operations, LLC

EDGE grant funds will be used to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment to outfit a new distribution facility in support of General Mills Operations, LLC (GMO). GMO is a subsidiary of General Mills, Inc. (GMI), a Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s premier consumer foods companies with products in over 100 countries around the world. With a current manufacturing facility in Covington, Newton County, Georgia since 1989, the Company seeks to expand in the southeastern region of the U.S. by constructing a regional distribution center. General Mills plans to construct a 1.5 million square-foot LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility on 130 acres that will be one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. Some of General Mills’ more notable products and brands include: Cheerios, Wheaties, Yoplait, Hamburger Helper, Green Giant, Betty Crocker and the most recognized icon of GMI – the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

EDGE Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $46.7 million
112 new jobs in two years / Interstate competition: Florida and Tennessee

HoustonCountyDevelopment Authority / Little League Baseball, Inc.

EDGE grant funds will be used to assist with site preparation in support of the location of Little League Baseball (LLB), Inc. LLB, a non-profit organization which organizes local youth baseball and softball leagues, has helped to organize over 200,000 teams (2.3 million players) in every state in the US and over 80 countries throughout the world. The Company is relocating its Southeastern regional headquarters from St. Petersburg, Florida to Warner Robins in Houston County to a new facility best suited for growth and expansion. LLB plans to construct 10,000 square-feet of administrative office/meeting space, practice fields, and enclosed one-story maintenance facility on 26 acres adjacent to the existing 29.56-acres Warner Robins American Little League complex. The location is expected to attract approximately 20,000 annual visitors to the area which over a 10-year period is estimated to have a $32 million regional impact.

EDGE Award: $598,640 / Total Project Cost: $5.5 million
5 new jobs and indirect impact of $3+ million annually across the region
Interstate competition: North and South Carolina

ThomasvillePayroll Development Authority / Senior Life Insurance Company

EDGE grant funds will be used to assist with site preparation and construction for the expansion of Senior Life Insurance Company (SLIC) in Thomasville. SLIC is a Thomasville based insurance company that has been in business more than 37 years. The Company is licensed to underwrite life and health insurance products in 20 states and the District of Columbia. It is a niche company which offers insurance products to senior citizens. SLIC has 75 employees in Thomasville and occupies 9,000 square feet of rental office space. In 2000, SLIC operated in Georgia and five other southeastern states and in 2002 and 2003, expanded to eight additional states, with two other state applications currently pending. With rapid growth, SLIC has outgrown its current facility, prompting management’s decision to expand its corporate headquarters in Thomasville or move to Florida. The Company plans to construct a 40,000 square foot facility on a 10-acre tract located at the intersection of West Jackson Street and U.S. Hwy 319 South in Thomasville.

EDGE Award: $350,000 / Total Project Cost: $7.9 million
200 new jobs in three years; retain 75 jobs / Interstate competition: Tallahassee, Florida

The Equity Fund is designed to assist communities and regions in building the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. The program’s flexibility also provides financial assistance to enhance publicly-owned tourism initiatives, workforce development opportunities and downtown revitalization projects. In addition, loan funds are available through the Equity Revolving Loan Fund to assist small business owners with business growth and expansion opportunities. Today, 12 Equity awards, totaling $5.1 million, are leveraged against approximately $202 million in total project costs.

City of Vienna - Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

Equity grant funds will be used for sewer infrastructure improvements to benefit the Tyson Poultry Plant located in the City of Vienna, Dooly County. Tyson Foods, the City’s largest employer, processes chickens and has the contract for the Wendy’s food chain in the Southeast. Due to the large amount of waste material associated with chicken processing, the wastewater conveyance system often gets backed up and spills into the environment which has resulted in a Consent Order from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. If the backups last more than a day, plant production ceases. This could jeopardize Tyson’s contract with Wendy’s which could in turn mean the direct loss of 600 jobs for the region. In addition, closure of the plant would affect hatchery employees, poultry farmers, poultry wranglers, feed processors, truck drivers and employees of other related industries in the area.

Equity Grant Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $2.5 million / Retain 600 jobs

City of Cordele – Road Infrastructure

Equity loan funds will be used to assist with road widening improvements along Frontage Road and Kelly Road to State Route 300 in order to open up the area to commercial development opportunities and encourage tourism to the area by accommodating the heavy traffic from I-75 and SR 300. The City of Cordele is located in Crisp County in south middle Georgia in a federally designated Empowerment Zone. Crisp, Dooly and Wilcox Counties have some of the worst poverty levels in the state. The proposed road improvements would increase the number of customers willing and/or able to access businesses along Frontage Road. Businesses to benefit from the road widening improvements are McDonald’s, Flash Foods, Papa’s Southern Meats and Eats, Back Woods Outdoors and Shelby’s Market Place. These Companies and the developer have provided a firm letter of commitment that assures the creation of 68 jobs and the provision of $7,960,648 in private investment.

Equity Loan Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $9.5 million / Create 68 jobs

Downtown Development Authority of the City of Arlington – Facilitating Business Growth / Land, Site Prep, and Public Infrastructure

Equity loan funds will be used to assist with the expansion of Damascus Fertilizer Company, d/b/a Early Trucking Company (ETC), located in Arlington, Calhoun County, Georgia. ETC is one of the largest employers in Calhoun County with 42 full-time employees who reside in 9 counties. The Company provides several levels of services to Southwest Georgia’s peanut industry. These services include transporting peanuts from farmer to purchaser, transporting peanuts in the hull from buying locations to shelling plants, shipping shelled product to storage, shipping hull fiber to regional feed mills and chicken processors, and delivering bulk oil grade peanuts to regional processors. Increased demand has required an expansion of its truck fleet from 28 to 42 trucks, the purchase of 26 additional trailers and 14 additional full-time drivers. The existing location is no longer adequate for ETC’s expanded operations. Equity funds will be loaned to ETC for land acquisition, site preparation and building construction.

Equity Loan Award: $300,126 / Total Project Cost: $2.5 million/ Create 20 jobs

Grady County Joint Development Authority – Capacity Building/ Land Acquisition

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with the acquisition of 175 acres of land ($2.2million) to expand the existing 179-acre Milestone Industrial Park in Cairo, Grady County. The property is located just off Hwy 84, has CSX rail access and is attractive for companies needing access to the tri-state market of Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The City of Cairo has committed to provide all utilities ($1 million) including water, sewer, electricity and natural gas extensions. The Industrial Park was established in 1990 and has become the primary location for much of the industry located in the County, currently serving 17 industries with an estimated 950 workers. Because only small (4 to 10 acre) tracts remain in the original park, Grady County recognized the need to expand the Park, having larger sites available for prospective industries.

Equity Grant Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $3.3 million

City of Madison Downtown Development Authority - Enhancing Regional Tourism / Building Construction

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with the development of the new Town Park Event Center in downtown Madison. The requested funds will be used for the construction of Harris Bicentennial Pavilion and an Art Guild Cottage, the Park’s primary venue and tourist welcome center. Although a center for education and agriculture in the 19th century, Madison is best known today as a popular tourist destination which already hosts over 50,000 visitors each year by marketing its historic downtown and attractions such as the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, the African American Museum, Heritage Hall, the Rose Cottage, and others. Town Park will accommodate approximately 3,000 people and has already been a tremendous economic development catalyst in the City and Region. The new event center will attract visitors and tourists as it revitalizes a portion of downtown Madison, resulting in the generation of new jobs and tax revenues for the City, County, Region, and State.

Equity Grant Award: $300,000 / Total Project Cost: $2.5 million

Clayton-Rabun County Water and Sewer Authority – Enhancing Regional Competitiveness / Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

Equity grant funds will provide gap financing for needed sewer infrastructure along the northern sector of US Hwy 441 between Mountain City and Dillard to sustain existing businesses. The community has executed documents with GEFA for a $1 million loan and received an Appalachian Regional Commission grant of $300,000. With the Georgia Department of Transportation's completion of the widening/improving of the Northern section of Hwy 441, acceleration of tourism and commercial business sectors is anticipated in an area where topography and environmental protections often limit development opportunities. Because the northernmost portion of this highway (1.25 miles) is without sanitary sewer, existing businesses are threatened by failing onsite septic systems, and new businesses are unable to locate without this basic infrastructure. For example, both the Feed Mill Restaurant and Osage Farms are considering expansions due to business growth. However, due to failing sewer systems, these expansions are in jeopardy. Located in the northeastern corner of the state, Rabun and Habersham Counties are strategically positioned to attract and conduct business within a four-state region which includes Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Equity Grant Award: $300,000 / Total Project Cost: $2.1 million / Retain 12 jobs

Toccoa-StephensAirportAuthority – Building Construction

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with construction of a 5,948 SF terminal facility at the Toccoa-Stephens County Regional Airport at R.G LeTourneau Field. Presently a small office within a privately-operated maintenance hangar serves as the airport terminal. The airport, located in the northeastern corner of the state, is centrally located near the Georgia and North/South Carolina borders and serves as a gateway to the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Statistics reflect that this Level II airport handles comparable traffic to other Level III airports (Cornelia, Blairsville) and is Georgia's northernmost airport before entering mountainous terrain, serving as a hub for Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain tourist traffic. While neighboring Franklin and Hart Counties are served by two airports, neither have adequate facilities to welcome/meet prospective business clients. This proposed airport terminal will play a pivotal role in attracting regional business and tourism prospects to the Northeast Region. After losing 2,000+ furniture manufacturing jobs and similar amount of textile jobs, this region has adopted a plan to attract smaller diversified industry.

Equity Grant Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $3.2 million

RandolphCountyDevelopment Authority – Agri-business

Equity loan funds will be used to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment in support of the location of A.G. Daniel Industries, LLC to Randolph County, Georgia. A.G. Daniel Industries is a Georgia company which will manufacture cattle feed product from cotton gin waste material which is currently being disposed of via burning. This product can replace high quality cattle feed at a price that is significantly lower than the market price of other like feed products. The Company will also reclaim 11.5% good quality cotton lint which will be baled in industry standard 500 pound bales and sold to cotton product manufacturers. The processing equipment will also collect and separate what is known as mote cotton which will also be baled and sold to either a mote processor or a company that manufactures products from the short fiber material, such as money, insulation and furniture padding. A.G. Daniel will create at least 70 new jobs within two years and invest over $5 million in the community.

Equity Loan Award: $400,000 / Total Project Cost: $6.4 million / Create 70 jobs

Development Authority of Jefferson County – Water Infrastructure

Equity grant funds will support water infrastructure improvements in the new 664 acre Kings Mill Commerce Park located 3 miles south of Wrens and 10 miles from Louisville. The project will consist of constructing 17,700 linear feet of 12-inch waterlines to serve the park. Jefferson County is contracting with the City of Wrens to operate and maintain the system. The property is strategically located near the junction of US Hwy 1 and S. R. 80 and is bordered by nearly one mile of Norfolk Southern main rail line. Natural gas service is available via the City of Wrens. Jefferson County became Georgia’s first Certified Work Ready Community. In addition, the County is recognized as a Community of Opportunity. Known as a bedroom community on the outskirts of Augusta, Jefferson County is one of 14 counties that comprise the Central Savannah River Area. Although no tenants have been secured for the Park thus far, the projected impact in terms of job creation is 1,650 jobs at full build-out.

Equity Grant Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $3.9 million

City of Barnesville – Water Infrastructure

Equity grant funds will assist with public water infrastructure improvements, specifically the installation of a dual feed loop to the City’s existing water system, to support the location of Piedmont Green Power, LLC (PGP) on 50 acres in the Legacy Industrial Park in Barnesville. Having a reliable, continuous supply of water at the required pressure will be a critical factor in the operation of the plant. The company plans to begin construction in March 2010 with anticipated operations/commissioning of the plant in the spring of 2012. PGP, a subsidiary of North Carolina-based Rollcast Energy, Inc, is a producer of clean, sustainable electrical energy. PGP plans to construct a 60,000 SF renewable power generation facility using native, regional biomass materials to generate nearly 50 megawatts of electricity that will be sold through a power purchase agreement (PPA) to Georgia Power.

Equity Grant Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $161.1 million
Create 22 jobs and unspecified number of indirect jobs via trucking, forest products and ancillary services

City of Colquitt Downtown Development Authority – Regional Tourism/Building Rehab

Equity grant and loan funds will be used to renovate a 4,600 square foot 1950s era movie theater on the town square into a regional multi-use conference/ meeting/performance center to be called The Woodstork Center. The Center has a seating capacity of 300 and would accommodate all types of events. This facility is seen as an enhancement and expansion of the cultural tourism initiative started in 1992 with the first production of Swamp Gravy, Georgia's Folk Life Play. Over the last several years Colquitt has hosted multiple conferences including "Building Creative Communities" Conferences (2006-2009) with the 4th scheduled for February 2010 and also three Southwest Georgia Film Festivals held each September. Colquitt has also been selected to host the 2010 "Global Mural, Arts and Cultural Tourism" Conference next October, which will bring people from all over the world. Over the years, Colquitt has expanded its performance repertoire to include May-Haw, a musical variety theater offered during the year as well as summer and Christmas Youth Theater Programs. An estimated 55,000 people visit Colquitt and Miller County annually for performances, events, festivals, mural tours, and restaurants. The project will be another asset to build on the cultural tourism industry of the region.

Equity Grant/Loan Award: $500,000 / Total Project Cost: $1.2 million

Hart County Water and Sewer Utility Authority – Water Infrastructure

Equity grant funds will be used to assist with water improvements to benefit Cobb-Vantress, Inc. (CVI) and Crystal Farms, Inc. (CFI), two of the state’s leading poultry industries. Cobb-Vantress is a leading supplier of broiler breeding stock. They are currently served by three groundwater wells. A consistent, reliable water source is needed to hydrate and cool the 60,000 great grandparent birds at the location. Their 43 employees also take approximately 100 showers a day. Crystal Farms, Inc. is the largest commercial egg producer in the state of Georgia. The southwestern Hart County facility houses 1.4 million hens. The site currently has sixteen wells, three of which are dry. With a cumulative $24 million private investment and nearly 100 jobs, both poultry companies, located along an un-served 10-mile stretch of Hwy 29, are without fire protection and must solely rely on private wells for water. Over the past several years, both companies have had to rotate water supplies to sustain operations. Improvements include an interconnection between Hart County's Water Authority and the City of Royston.

Equity Grant Award: $300,000 / Total Project Cost: $4.9 million

The AIRGeorgia Fund is intended to accelerate the completion of critical airport infrastructure improvements. Today’s AIRGeorgia award of $651,835 is leveraged against more than $1.8 million in total project costs.

City of Reidsville – Level I Airport – Runway Extension

AIRGeorgia grant funds will be used to assist with improvements to Swinton Smith Field at Reidsville Municipal Airport that includes an extension of the 3,802 ft runway to 5,000 ft, a taxiway addition and installation of aviation lighting. The Airport is located in Tattnall County in SE Georgia. Situated on 297.83 acres, this Level I airport is owned by the Reidsville Airport Authority and is operated by the City of Reidsville. The request for AIRGeorgia assistance equals 36% of the $1,820,884 total project cost. Project partners include the City, Airport Authority, Federal Aviation Administration, Georgia Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division, and the engineering firm of Wilbur Smith Associates. Benefits of the airport improvements will include improved safety as well as increased economic activity. In addition, the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) has two helicopters that are permanently stationed at the airport. Plans are underway to add a new hangar and to add a fixed-wing aircraft to the fleet of the GSP aircraft.

AIRGeorgia Grant Award: $651,835 / Total Project Cost: $1.8 million

The OneGeorgia Authority was created utilizing one-third of the state’s tobacco settlement to assist the state’s most economically challenged areas. The OneGeorgia Authority is expected to receive about $1.6 billion over the 25-year term of the settlement. From the Authority’s inception to-date, OneGeorgia has made 458 awards totaling $251 million leveraged against total project investment of $5 billion, a return on investment of 20:1. Impacting 132 economically-depressed counties, more than 45,000 jobs have been retained and created.

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