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Grant, loan to EMC to spur area jobs

Coastal helping McIntosh expand industrial park

POSTED: February 4, 2009 11:10 a.m.
Courier file photo/

Mark Bolton

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In hopes of creating about 550 new jobs for the area, Coastal Electric Cooperative is working with state agencies and the McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority to expand industry and encourage economic growth in Liberty County’s southern neighbor.
Mark Bolton, vice president for the Midway-based Coastal EMC, said his cooperative is acting as a conduit for a $740,000, no-interest loan and a $300,000 Rural Economic Development Loan/Grant that it was awarded with the assistance of USDA Rural Development.
“The source of the funding is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. The application is a competitive process where applications are scored based upon the number of jobs created, the business plan, the viability of the project and the demographics of the project area, among other things,” Bolton said.
The money will go toward expanding the Tidewaters Industrial Complex (previously known as McIntosh Industrial Park) near Darien.
According to David Lyons, executive director of the MCIDA, the park is currently about 90 acres. The project, he said, will add approximately 400 acres.
With the additional space, Bolton said, they are planning for about 30 individual parcels of land ranging from 2 to 14 acres each.
“The authority has the flexibility to develop the land based upon the best use at the time and also the needs of the prospect,” Bolton said.
No prospective tenants have been announced.
“The smaller parcels are generally reserved for businesses that desire to have highway visibility, whereas a large regional distribution center might require several of the larger sites to be consolidated to accommodate their needs,” he said.
All of the entities involved agree the ultimate goal of the project is to create the maximum number of reliable jobs for area residents.
“Few things build wealth for a county any faster than a good, clean industry that dumps $10 to $20 million in annual payroll dollars to local workers,” Bolton said. “That begins a powerful trickle down process that makes it possible for those local workers to buy better homes, newer automobiles and generally have more disposable income to spend at the main street businesses in town.”
The grant to Coastal is part of a total $3.5 million going toward rural development in Georgia. The other areas receiving money include Satilla EMC, Little Ocmulgee EMC, and Jefferson Energy Cooperative.
As for the Tidewaters project, it’s already underway.
“The McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority has already acquired the 400 acre industrial park expansion in phases,” Bolton said. “A new entranceway into the park to accommodate trucks and greater traffic volume has just been completed.
The authority expects to begin work on an additional roadway extension and water and sewer expansion later this year.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring good jobs to the area,” Lyons said.
 

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