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Governor Perdue Announces over $17 million in OneGeorgia Awards

Tuesday, January 30, 2007  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Equity Fund Cap Raised to $1 million per Project


WARM SPRINGS, Ga – Governor Sonny Perdue today announced more than $17 million in grant and loan awards from the OneGeorgia Authority to Georgia communities that will create jobs and implement economic development projects.  The regularly scheduled OneGeorgia board meeting was held at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in historic Warm Springs.

"We are preparing rural Georgia to compete in the 21st century economy with a comprehensive and integrated economic development strategy," said Governor Perdue. "We are providing the financial resources necessary to stimulate private investment and economic growth "Our investments over the last six years have supported nearly 350 projects aimed at making rural Georgia a competitor in the global marketplace."

Governor Perdue also welcomed two newcomers to the OneGeorgia board, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Ken Stewart. Lt. Governor Cagle will serve as Vice-Chairman of the board.

Governor Perdue and members of the OneGeorgia Authority Board approved a revision to the Equity Fund regulations to encourage regional partnerships and multi-county ownership of economic development projects.  The revision provides for an award of up to $1 million for projects owned by a multi-county development authority and expected to generate substantial multi-county economic impact. Multi-county partnerships must create an intergovernmental agreement for revenue and cost sharing as part of a comprehensive application. Before today's revision, Equity Fund awards were capped at $500,000 per project.

"We understand the growing importance of encouraging multi-county partnerships for economic development initiatives," said Governor Perdue. "These projects are complex and require a substantial investment of time, planning and financial resources.   We want to be a model for collaborative economic development, pooling visionary leaders with the necessary resources to grow jobs in rural Georgia."

Governor Perdue and members of the OneGeorgia Authority Board approved the grants and loans from the OneGeorgia Authority's portfolio of financing programs including Equity, EDGE, BRIDGE, AIRGeorgia and ESB. 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.

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.

Twenty Equity awards totaling over $7.3 million were made today. These awards include:

City of Moultrie – Sunbelt Agricultural Expo

  • ·        Site improvements at Spence Field, 1,600-acre former WWII airbase and home of the annual Sunbelt Agricultural Expo. 
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $406,954 / Total Project Cost:  $705,949
  •          Retain 10 jobs; Create up to 200 seasonal/temporary jobs

Candler County Industrial Authority – Land Acquisition

  •          The acquisition of 105 acres to expand the 111-acre Industrial Park located near Interstate 16.   
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $2,488,608 

Macon County Development Authority – Macon County Sand Company

  •          Machinery and equipment  to support the location of Macon County Sand Company
  •          Equity Loan Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $6,335,208 
  •          Create 24 new jobs

Bulloch County – Infrastructure Improvements

  •          Water and Sewer Infrastructure improvements for Phase II of the Gateway Regional Industrial Park, located just six miles from Interstate 16 and within an hour of the Georgia Port in Savannah. 
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $4,800,000

Lincoln County Industrial Authority – Sewer Improvements

  •          Infrastructure improvements to serve a 100-acre industrial park and two recent company announcements, Charles Owen Company, a maker of equestrian equipment, and Medac, a medical billing company, creating a total of 305 new jobs.  
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $497,405 / Total Project Cost:  $4,167,300 
  •          Create 305 new jobs

Joint Development Authority of Fannin, Towns and Union counties – Tourism / Byron Herbert Reece Farm

  •          Construction of a visitor's center at the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center in Union County, adjacent to Vogel State Park.   Reece, an Appalachia writer, poet and farmer who lived in Union County in the early 1900's, has been recognized as Georgia's Appalachia Poet Laureate.  
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $175,000 / Total Project Cost:  $3,252,155 
  •          Create two new jobs

Downtown Development Authority of Social Circle – Tourism/ Blue Willow Village       

  •          Construction of the Blue Willow Village, adjacent to the Blue Willow Inn Restaurant, will include unique, specialty stores and restaurants featuring regional artisans, highlighting Georgia craftsmen and entrepreneurs. The Blue Willow Inn, located near Interstate 20, is a regional tourism economic driver, hosting more than 250,000 visitors annually. 
  •          Equity Loan Award:  $300,000  / Total Project Cost:  $2,614,621
  •          Create up to 100 new jobs

Stewart County Board of Commissioners – Infrastructure Improvements           

  •          Infrastructure improvements to support Corrections Corporation of America's (CCA) new 1,524-bed prison facility in Stewart County.  With an annual payroll of $20 million and 269 jobs, this project will have significant regional impact. 
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $158,658 / Total Project Cost:  $7,660,158 
  •          Create 269 new jobs

Mitchell County Board of Commissioners –Agribusiness/ Infrastructure Improvements

  •          Road improvements to serve the new ethanol production plant under construction by First United Ethanol LLC (FUEL).  
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $151,850,066 
  •          Create 50 new direct jobs and up to 350 indirect jobs

Ben Hill-Irwin Area Joint Development Authority – Frontier Cargo        

  •          Acquisition of two vacant buildings for use by Frontier Cargo, a cargo trailer manufacturing operation in Ocilla.
  •          Equity Loan Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $8,930,000
  •          Create 100 new jobs

Development Authority of the City of Richland – Apex Homes

  •          Machinery and equipment to support modular homes manufacturer, Apex Building Systems, LLC.   
  •          Equity Loan Award:  $400,000 / Total Project Cost:  $2,891,202
  •          Create 100 new jobs

City of Shellman – Downtown Revitalization          

  •          Rehabilitation of a downtown building for use as a medical clinic by the Randolph County Hospital Authority.
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $153,754 / Total Project Cost:  $584,618 
  •          Create five new jobs

City of Folkston – Infrastructure / Margo State Line, Inc.

  •          Public road improvements to support Margo State Line's new lawn and gardening operation in the City of Folkston/Charlton County. 
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $272,130 / Total Project Cost:  $2,555,487
  •          Create 10 new jobs; Retention of 24 jobs

City of Plains – Infrastructure / Wyndham Castings

  •          Equity Grant and loan funds to address the degradation of this small town's water and sewer lines and to support the expansion of Wyndham Castings, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture.
  •          Total Award:  $402,022 / Total Project Cost:  $476,065 
  •          Create 11 new jobs; Retention of 110 jobs

Development Authority of Early County – Agribusiness / White Oak Pastures, Inc.

  •          Construction of a 5,329 square-foot facility to support the continued growth of White Oak Pastures all-natural beef.  "Harvest House," located along U.S. Highway 27, will also promote other Georgia-grown products and agri-tourism opportunities in Southwest Georgia.  WOP, an approved supplier of grass-fed beef, plans to expand to additional Publix supermarkets in addition to Whole Foods supermarkets. 
  •          Equity Loan Award:  $461,865 / Total Project Cost:  $2,039,353
  •          Create 12 new direct jobs

City of Baldwin – Infrastructure Improvements

  •          Sewer improvements to serve a 2,000 square-foot upscale fast-food restaurant along Highway 365.  The improvements are expected to spur future development in an area heavily dependent upon tourists.
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $200,000 / Total Project Cost:  $2,261,633
  •          Create 30 new jobs

City of Toccoa – Infrastructure Improvements

  •          Re-permitting costs to expand the Eastanollee Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility from a capacity of 1.45 million gallons per day to two million gallons allowing 320 available acres in the Hayestone-Brady Industrial Park to be developed along Highway 17 in Stephens County. 
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $180,000 / Total Project Cost:  $293,732

Banks-Habersham Joint Development Authority – Agribusiness / Infrastructure Improvements

  •           Improvements to the City of Cornelia's wastewater treatment plant to accommodate the expansion of Fieldale Farms, Inc., a poultry processing plant. 
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $57,375,922 
  •          Create 200 new jobs; Retention of 1,500 jobs

Butts County – Workforce Development

  •          Construction of the Butts County Workforce Training Center, a satellite campus of Griffin Technical College.
  •          Equity Grant Award:  $200,000 / Total Project Cost:  $3,674,327

City of Thomson – Airport Improvements

  •          Construction of one nine-bay nested and one nine-bay oversized hanger at the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport. 
  •          Equity Loan Award:  $500,000 / Total Project Cost:  $1,252,275 


Company officials and local leaders associated with the most recent EDGE awards were recognized at today's meeting.  The three EDGE awards, totaling $800,000, are leveraged against more than $87 million in total project costs and are projected to create over 200 jobs within the next two years. 

The EDGE recipients include: 

Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority / Nichiha USA, Inc.

  •          Site preparation in support of Nichiha USA's new 300,000 square-foot manufacturing facility.  Nichiha USA is subsidiary of Nichiha Corporation, a Nagoya, Japan-based company started in 1956.  The company is a leader in the worldwide fiber cement industry with technological advances in materials development and manufacturing processes.  The Macon facility, situated on just under 60 acres in the Airport South Industrial Park, will manufacture fiber cement and represents the company's first plant constructed in the United States.  This product is used in residential, commercial and multi-family development.  The Macon plant, with a private investment exceeding $75 million, is part of an overall strategy to further market innovative fiber cement building products worldwide and, specifically, into the North American market.  The company has committed to create 100 new jobs in two years.
  •          EDGE Award:  $400,000  / Total Project Cost:  $78,256,930

Downtown Development Authority of the City of Thomasville/ International Design and Display Group, LLC

  •          To assist in the purchase of three existing buildings and the construction of one new building.  IDDG, a 17-year old Florida company, will relocate from Miami Lakes, Florida, and plans to specialize in the manufacture of displays for trade show exhibits, realty sales centers and other advertising venues.  Once renovations are completed, the 30,000 square-foot facility will include production and office space and a covered loading dock. The company has committed to create at least 30 new jobs in two years.
  •          EDGE Award:  $120,000  /  Total Project Cost:  $1,405,000

Development Authority of the City of Manchester/ G&S Metals

  •          To assist with site development on 21 acres of land in the Manchester Industrial Park along Highway 85.   The company plans to expand the 50,000 square-foot spec building to 70,000 square feet. The spec building was constructed in 2004 with a $411,000 loan from OneGeorgia's Equity Fund.  Lease payments from G & S Metals will be used to satisfy debt service on the loan.  The core business of G & S Metals (a family-owned business with initials that stand for Galley and Sons) is the conversion of customer-owned scrap aluminum turnings into usable ingot or sow product.   Increased market demand provides an opportunity for G & S Metals to locate in Meriwether County with a commitment to create 77 new jobs and an initial private investment of at least $7.5 million.   
  •          EDGE Award:  $280,000 / Total Project Cost:  $8,065,000


The Regional E-911 Fund has provided grants over the last three years for costs associated with the start-up of E-911 emergency services in Georgia's most economically challenged counties.  Today the Authority congratulated the local leadership of four counties on the expansion of the Clay and Quitman E-911 Center to also serve Randolph and Stewart counties. 

Details of the award include: 

Clay, Quitman, Randolph and Stewart Counties – $200,000

  •           Grant funds will be used to assist with mapping, signage and equipment purchases to expand the Clay and Quitman E-911 Center, funded with a $400,000 grant in 2003. The applicant will use a centralized dispatching system in the four-county coverage area with a combined population of about 20,000 people.  With such a large geographical footprint, the proposed four-county centralized dispatch is the most efficient approach to provide emergency medical services.  The expansion of the two-county system into a four-county system represents significant progress in the development of regional collaboration and partnerships in one of Georgia's most economically challenged areas.  


Governor Perdue and the board recognized the most recent recipients of technology grants from the BRIDGE (Broadband Rural Initiative to Develop Georgia's Economy) Fund. The Four BRIDGE awards totaling $191,018 will provide funding to support technology assessments. 

The award recipients included:

Montgomery County and Wheeler County – $51,418

  •          Feasibility studies to determine the economic benefits and costs of providing wireless high-speed broadband access to Montgomery and Wheeler Counties.  

McDuffie County (Regional Project) – $112,000

  •           McDuffie, Columbia, Lincoln, Warren and Wilkes counties propose to identify gaps in broadband infrastructure, benchmark current technology utilization and develop a community and regional technology roadmap.  The five counties believe they have an opportunity to join forces to expand high speed internet access to underserved areas in the five-county region to promote economic development.

Development Authority of Elbert County, Elberton and Bowman – $16,000

  •           A two-county technology assessment to focus on improving network infrastructure, filling in gaps in broadband availability, building upon an existing cluster of granite-related industries, developing tourism/retirement as an economic strategy and supporting other small technology-related businesses. 

Johnson County – $11,600

  •          Feasibility studies to determine the economic benefits and costs of providing high speed broadband in the unincorporated and rural sections of Johnson County.  Johnson County is lacking in distance learning opportunities, either through area colleges or other entities.  The establishment of a satellite facility would enable local students to participate in higher education while enjoying the benefits of living in a rural area.   


In July 2006, Governor Perdue launched the AIRGeorgia Program, officially integrating airport infrastructure improvements into OneGeorgia's overall plan for rural economic development. Governor Perdue had requested the OneGeorgia Authority to structure a new financing program aimed at completing critical infrastructure improvements necessary to upgrade and improve many of rural Georgia's aviation "Gateways." The goal of AirGeorgia is to extend rural airport runways to at least 5,000 feet, thereby placing every Georgian, business and industry within a 30-minute drive of an airport capable of serving 85% of the corporate aircraft flying today.

"These airport enhancements will make these communities more competitive," Governor Perdue said. "Making these first awards in this program is exciting, and I look forward to this program continuing to benefit our rural communities."

Five AIRGeorgia awards totaling $8,517,812 were recognized today including: 

Franklin-Hart County Airport Authority 

  •          To extend the runway from 3,500 feet to 5,000 feet at the 140-acre Franklin-Hart County Airport, serving both counties with a total population of 43,000.  Project activities include easement acquisition, site preparation, paving, constructing a blast pad, extending the runway safety area, constructing a taxiway turnaround, extending runway lights and installing taxiway lighting and signage. 
  •          AIRGeorgia Grant Award:  $898,200  / Total Project Cost:  $1,541,595 

City of Camilla

  •           To assist in the extension and widening of the Camilla-Mitchell County Airport's runway 08-26 from 4,005 feet by 60 feet to 5,000 feet by 100 feet, including lighting and marking.  The Camilla-Mitchell County Airport, located on highways 97 and 112, is anticipated to also benefit Baker and Miller counties in Southwest Georgia. 
  •          AIRGeorgia Grant Award:  $1,161,398 / Total Project Cost:  $1,667,899 

Peach County Board of Commissioners 

  •           To assist with the purchase of a Precision Instrument Approach for the Perry-Houston Airport (PXE), located in both Peach and Houston counties. 
  •          AIRGeorgia Grant Award:  $1,098,575 / Total Project Cost:  $1,818,575 

Metter-Candler County Airport Authority

  •           Extend the runway at the Metter Municipal Airport from 3,610 feet to 5,000 feet to accommodate larger twin-type aircraft and other medium sized aircraft. Located adjacent to the I-16 corridor between Macon and Savannah, Metter and Candler County are positioning their community as a favorable location for targeted business sectors and companies. 
  •          AIRGeorgia Grant Award:  $2,222,602 / Total Project Cost:  $3,272,126 

City of Cochran

  •          Extend the runway from 3,200 feet to 4,400 feet at Cochran Municipal Airport and the development of a Medium Intensity Runway Lighting System (MIRL) along with the Precision Approach Path Indicators. The community's long-term strategy also includes marketing the recently developed 274-acre Industrial Park along highways 23 and 129. The land was purchased with a $500,000 Equity Grant. 
  •          AIRGeorgia Grant Award:  $3,137,037  / Total Project Cost:  $3,494,340 


The board also reviewed seven ESB Loan Guarantees totaling over $700,000 made since the last board meeting. The Entrepreneur-Small Business Loan Guarantee Program was created nearly two years ago to support the growth of entrepreneurs and small businesses in less developed areas.  The ESB Loan Guarantee Program is the Authority's first public-private partnership, providing a shared risk with Georgia lending institutions for loans ranging from $35,000 to $250,000.

ESB Loan Guarantees approved by the board included:

Cairo Fitness Center/Citizens Bank (Cairo) 

  •          A loan to purchase equipment to support the rapidly growing fitness center.                      
  •          Current jobs: 4; Proposed new jobs: 2

Jeff and Katy, Inc. /Pinnacle Bank (Elberton)  

  •           A loan to expand the business: purchasing and setting up new equipment.     
  •           Current jobs: 3; Proposed new jobs: 3

Singletary Diversified Maintenance Systems, LLC/United National Bank (Cairo)  

  •          A loan to purchase Singletary Diversified Maintenance Systems, an existing maintenance and cleaning business.
  •          Current jobs: 4

Café Campesino, Inc. / Sumter Bank and Trust Company (Americus) 

  •           A loan to purchase the business, and also to buy a new, larger roaster.     
  •           Current jobs: 3: Proposed new jobs: 2

Fuze Technologies, Inc. /Sumter Bank and Trust Company (Americus)  

  •          A loan to purchase equipment, inventory, furniture and fixtures.
  •           Proposed new jobs: 4

Sellers Brothers, Inc./Altamaha Bank and Trust (Uvalda)

  •          A loan to purchase computerized woodworking machinery and computer software, inventory, and retrofit a building.  
  •          Current jobs: 6; Proposed new jobs: 15

Triple C Home Decorating Center/Altamaha Bank and Trust (Uvalda)

  •          A loan to purchase and expand the business.
  •          Current jobs: 1; Proposed new jobs: 4


The board also received an update from Chris Clark, Deputy Commissioner for GDEcD, on the department's community-based Entrepreneur Friendly program.   Calhoun, Schley, Pulaski, Troup, Sumter, Glynn, Camden and Wilkinson counties were recognized as the most recent communities to earn the Entrepreneurial Friendly designation.  To date, 32 communities have earned this designation and an equal number are working toward this important certification.  Once a community has earned the Entrepreneur Friendly designation, they have the opportunity to apply for entrepreneur and small business implementation grants of up to $25,000.  At today's meeting, Miller and Houston counties were awarded grants from the Entrepreneur Friendly Implementation Fund (EFIF) in the amounts of $10,000 each and Tri-CREST (Toombs, Montgomery, and Tattnall) were recognized as receiving the first regional grant to encourage small business awareness and growth.  The grant program is funded by the OneGeorgia Authority and is only available to communities who have successfully earned the designation "Entrepreneur Friendly."

Governor Perdue and the board also recognized the recipients of research grants provided under the Centers of Innovation program.  The Centers of Innovation program, funded by the OneGeorgia Authority, connects world-class researchers at Georgia's educational institutions with entrepreneurs and existing businesses and entrepreneurs to foster growth within targeted business sectors.  Research grants are available to fuel applied research and development to assist companies in bringing new products and services on-line with the ultimate goal of diversifying rural Georgia's economy through new jobs and capital investment.

The most recent research grants awarded include: 

Recipient:  Georgia Tech – Industry partner:  nGimat – $50,000

Project Description:  Regenerative Sorbent System Solutions for Logistics Fuel Desulphurization

Recipient:  Georgia Tech – industry partner:  C2 Biofuels – $100,000

Project Description:  Utilizing Pine Trees for Ethanol Development

Recipient:  University of Georgia – industry partner:  Muscadine Products Corporation –$60,000

Project Description:  Commercial Production Process for Concentrated Liquid Extract from Muscadine Grape Pomace

Recipient:  Georgia Tech – industry partner:  Polywad, Inc. – $7,500

Project Description:  Develop Automation and Control of Special DOD Munitions Production Process

Recipient:  Medical College of Georgia – industry partner:  Apeliotus Technologies  –$60,000

Project Description:  Radiosensitizer for Treatment of Lung Cancer


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.

Since the authority was created in October 2000, more than $250 million has been invested in projects and programs focused on preparing Georgia's rural areas to successfully compete in the global economy.