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Governor Perdue Announces OneGeorgia Awards

Thursday, May 20, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA , GA - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today over $12.5 million in grant and loan awards from the OneGeorgia Authority to spur economic development in rural Georgia communities. These funds will assist with a variety of economic development projects aimed at creating new jobs and private investment, the retention of existing jobs, capacity building projects, and centralized dispatch Regional E-911 systems.

"These awards support the creation of 2,175 new jobs for Georgians as well as the retention of 639 jobs in a variety of industry sectors," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "Creating new jobs and growing private investment throughout the state is a top priority of my administration."

These projects, along with their respective local leadership representatives, will be recognized at the regularly scheduled OneGeorgia board meeting to be held at East Georgia College in Swainsboro , Georgia tomorrow, Friday, May 21. 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.

The Equity awards, round two of FY 2004 funding, are designed to assist communities and regions build the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. The program's flexibility 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. Project awards are given through three competitive rounds annually and are capped at $500,000. Tier 1 and 2 communities, and in some cases Tier 3 communities, are eligible for Authority Assistance. The next Equity application deadline is June 8, 2004.

Equity awards total $4,413,904 including grants totaling $2,722,956 and loans totaling $1,690,948. These awards include:

Thomasville Payroll Development Authority

A loan of $500,000 to assist two not-for-profit healthcare centers, Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, with the purchase of equipment needed for a jointly owned and operated consolidated laundry facility to be located within the Oak Industrial park in Thomasville. The equipment will be purchased and owned by the Payroll Development Authority and leased to the consolidated laundry. Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Archibald Memorial Hospital operate over 40 separate medical care facilities throughout the southwest Georgia region. Collectively the two healthcare providers employ over 5,600 workers with a combined payroll exceeding $240 million. The Laundry Facility will create 40 jobs. Total project cost: $4,879,523.

City of Thomasville

A grant of $451,733 to assist with the construction of a new airport terminal building at the Thomasville Municipal Airport, a level III Regional Airport. The Regional Airport , often seen as the "gateway to the region" does not have adequate facilities or meeting space for visiting corporate executives of existing industries, industrial prospects or tourists visiting the surrounding areas. The new building will be constructed for functionality, safety to passengers and appearance. The building will contain approximately 3,650 SF and be handicap accessible. Total project cost: $3,660,733.

City of Bremen

A grant of $475,000 will assist with the upgrade of an industrial wastewater pretreatment facility to support the retention and expansion of a major employer, Mark-Lynn Foods, Inc. This company, with a $22 million private investment, is a manufacturer of portion-control wet and dry condiment packets. Since 1983 Mark-Lynn Foods, the city's second largest employer has worked to position the company to become a premier packager of 150 products including a heart-healthy sugar substitute. This project will retain 180 jobs and create an additional 40 new jobs. Total project cost: $1,504,000.

Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority

A grant of $487,171 to purchase equipment and furnishings for lease to Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, a non-profit workforce development agency. Goodwill has acquired the former Sam's Club building in Macon for use as a regional Culinary Arts and Hospitality Service Training Center. The facility will create 125 new staff positions and will provide paid training to approximately 85 individuals per week in demand occupations for the food service industry. The strategy of the central campus is to accommodate a full range of workforce development services in the food service industry including job training, intensive counseling, core job search and career advancement services for people with "barriers to employment." Total project cost: $5,512,004.

Adel Industrial Development Authority

A grant of $500,000 to construct water and sewer extensions to serve Phase I of the new South Cook Mega Industrial District. This initial phase will extend 12,000 LF of water and sewer line to the 350 acre site, construct 7,000 LF of road and build a wireless telecommunications tower. The site is located along the I-75 US Highway 41 corridor. Rail access is located on the west side of the property. Significant funding resources for this project include the donation of the 350 acre parcel valued at $1,050,000, local investment of $275,000 and an EDA grant of $1,151,000 to assist with development of the park. Total project cost: $2,969,33.

Candler County Board of Commissioners

A loan of $500,000 to construct a 7,200 SF building to be used as an Agribusiness Regional Resource and Development Center. The center will provide regional training opportunities for diversification of farming operations in the region, as well as training for the fast growing Hispanic population and others in need of basic skills. In addition, workforce training will be provided to meet the needs of agribusiness and employers within the region. Total Project Cost: $1,642,193.

Downtown Development Authority of Dawson

A grant of $250,000 and a loan of $250,000 to assist with the renovations of two buildings located in the historic downtown district that will be converted into a 180-seat dinner theater that includes kitchen facilities, dressing rooms, actor's studio, and gallery with meeting rooms. The City is partnering with the Better Hometown Task Force, who will oversee day-to-day operations of the theater. The theater has built a strong regional following with its dinner theater productions over the last five years and is seen as a complimentary attraction to "Swamp Gravy" productions in Miller County. Swamp Gravy's initial budget in 1991 was $2,000; its current budget exceeds $2.1 million. The Main Street Theatre has outgrown its current facility and a larger theater is expected to promote regional tourism, increase job creation and retention, educational enhancements, add to the tax base and strengthen the overall economy. Total project cost: $816,911.

Joint Development Authority of Jeff Davis County , Hazlehurst and Denton , Georgia

A grant of $59,052 to support public infrastructure improvements and a loan of $440,948 is awarded to assist with the construction of a peanut collection facility for the Jeff Davis Peanut and Grain Company. Currently, there are no collection or buying stations in an 8-county area including Jeff Davis, Appling, Tattnall, Toombs, Montgomery, Treutlen, Wheeler and Bacon. The 14 stockholders have a combined 400 years farming experience and have pooled their experience and knowledge in an effort to support this value-added agricultural activity. The company has a five-year contract with Golden Peanut to buy peanuts and expects to provide 12 full time jobs and 19 seasonal jobs. $2,551,736 private investment with total project cost of $3,061,736.

Development Authority of Monroe County

A grant of $500,000 to assist with infrastructure improvements to the 271-acre Rumble Road Industrial Park strategically located along the I-75 corridor. Activities include providing roadway access to GRESCO (Georgia Rural Electric Supply Corp), a new industry that has committed to locating in the park with 40 jobs, as well as site clearing, grading and grubbing, storm drainage and erosion control measures to prepare industrial tracts to become prospect market ready. Monroe County is bordered by Tier 2 Crawford, Lamar and Bibb Counties and Tier 1 Upson County. Local investment of $2,150,000 with total project cost of $3,978,324.

Governor Perdue will also recognize the fourth award from the OneGeorgia Regional E-911 Fund. A $400,000 grant to the Telfair-Wheeler Joint Development Authority will assist with the purchase/rehabilitation of a regional E-911 center, including the purchase of dispatching and radio equipment to serve the 17,973 residents of these two Tier 1 counties. The center will be located in the city of McRae with a 35-mile radius coverage area. There will be nine new positions created with a total project cost of $604,523.

Governor Perdue will recognize the 15 EDGE awards made since the last OneGeorgia Authority Board meeting on December 19, 2003. The 15 awards, totaling almost $8 million, are leveraged against $157,437, 541 in total project costs. The purpose of the EDGE Fund is to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants that are being considered as a relocation or expansion site and are competing with another state for location of a project. EDGE fund projects are generally time-sensitive in nature and are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Governor Perdue praised the quality of the projects and the state's anticipated return of investment through job creation and/or retention and private investment. "Through these awards, we are not only supporting the retention and expansion of existing manufacturing facilities in Georgia , but we are also extending a warm welcome to the new companies who have chosen to locate and do business here." The awards include:

Crisp County-Cordele Industrial Development Authority

A $243,680 grant to assist with improvements to a 77,000 SF building located on 10 acres of land in Cordele's Fairway Business Park as well as acquisition of an adjacent 7.5 acre tract of land leased to MBM Corporation. Meadowbrook Meat Company, Inc., also known as MBM Corporation, is a leading provider of food and other products for operating fast food restaurants. Some of MBM's clients include Arby's , Burger King, Chick- Fil -A, Red Lobster and Captain D's. MBM is one of the 500 largest privately owned companies in the U.S. The company has located a distribution center in this facility that supplies food for Captain D's restaurants in the southeast ( Georgia , Florida , Alabama , Mississippi and Tennessee ). MBM operates 31 distribution centers throughout the U.S. including two in Georgia (Macon and LaGrange) that serve the entire continental U.S. This project is expected to create 80 new jobs with private investment of $4.4 million. 75 jobs have been created to date. Total project cost $4.7 million.

Joint Development Authority of Brooks, Colquitt, Grady, Mitchell and Thomas Counties $1,500,000 to assist with the purchase of freezing and refrigeration equipment to support a vegetable-processing facility to be operated by A. Duda & Sons, Inc. The company is engaged in vegetable production, citrus production, cattle production, sod and sugar cane farming, harvesting, packing, processing and marketing. Duda is a Florida based 77-year old company in the fourth generation of family ownership. The company, the world's largest supplier of canned and frozen celery, has just completed its first frozen vegetable cycle in Thomasville and is currently canning celery. On June 2nd, the Thomasville facility is scheduled to begin processing and freezing Vidalia Onions. Duda currently has 40 employees and is expected to create 150 new jobs including both direct and indirect jobs over the next several years. Duda is presently in discussions with three other companies who are considering the business potential of locating near Duda. Total project cost: $5.9 million.

Development Authority of Early County

$250,000 to purchase equipment for expansion efforts of Golden Peanut Company, an international conglomerate that processes and sells various peanut products worldwide. Golden Peanut is a wholesaler of bulk peanuts. It provides a variety of processing operations that includes cleaning, grading and producing peanut flour, meal, and oil, as well as processing hulls into other products. The company will construct a 65,000 SF building for the production of peanut flour and a 25,000 SF facility for processing peanut oil on a 15.7-acre tract in the Blakely-Early County Industrial Park. The Early County plant is the only facility in the Company that is specifically for food production. Currently, there is no other facility in the U.S. that produces peanut flour. This expansion will retain 30 existing jobs and create an additional 20 jobs. The expansion of this peanut processor in Early County is expected to benefit regional peanut farmers because of the Company's increased demand for raw peanuts. The new facility is scheduled to begin operations mid July 2004. Total project cost exceeds $11.6 million.

Thomasville Payroll Development Authority

$250,000 to assist with construction of a new 30,000 SF manufacturing facility for UWS, Inc. UWS, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Welding Services, Inc., a metal-fabrication company that manufactures accessories for light trucks, including the top selling Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram brands. United Welding recently formed UWS to introduce a new product line - step bars for trucks in stainless steel and black powder coating. Start-up operations have begun with 19 employees. The company is expected to create 81 new jobs with 36 months. Total project cost $2 million.

Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority

$122,146 to purchase machinery and equipment to secure a new work package for The Boeing Company, an aircraft manufacturer in Bibb County. The new work package consists of nine deliverable sheet metal assemblies for the AH-64D Apache-Longbow attack helicopter program. Boeing is the largest aerospace company and the number three defense contractor in the world. Boeing currently employs approximately 622 persons at its Macon operation. Due to a difficult business climate and increasing competition, Boeing-Macon wishes to reduce costs and diversify its workload. This new package will enable Boeing to retain 30 jobs at the Macon facility. Total project cost $1.9 million.

Middle Georgia Regional Development Authority

$750,000 to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment for the expansion of Graphic Packing International, Inc. (formerly known as Riverwood International Corp.), a paperboard packaging company. The company has operated a carton-converter plant since 1996, where it produces coated unbleached kraft paperboard (CUK), which is used to construct soft-drink cartons. To accommodate increased business, the company will renovate and increase the size of its facility by 150,000 SF on an adjacent tract of land. This project is expected to create 46 new jobs. Additional job creation by an on-site subcontractor and other vendors could raise the project's job creation figure to 100. The project is expected to have significant impact to the seven surrounding Tier 1 and Tier 2 communities. Total project cost exceeds $40 million.

Joint Development Authority of Brooks, Colquitt, Grady, Mitchell and Thomas Counties

$350,000 to purchase equipment required for a new ultra-filtration plant in Mitchell County. The equipment will be owned by the Authority and leased to Southeast Milk, Inc. (SMI), a dairy marketing cooperative with 240 members. SMI is the 12th largest dairy cooperative in the U.S. The Company plans to construct and equip an ultra-filtration plant on the site of Aurora Dairy, a large dairy near Baconton in north Mitchell County. Aurora Dairy is one of the larger dairies part of the SMI cooperative. The production of Ultra Filtration Milk will provide SMI the market opportunity to convert surplus milk into a value-added product that SMI can process in their new plant and for which they can control the pricing. This process produces a condensed milk product that can be directly marketed to cheese plants in the northeast and mid-western U.S. This facility is the first of its kind in the Southeast U.S. The project is expected to create 62 new jobs. The facility began operating mid February and currently has 26 jobs. Total project cost $6 million.

Development Authority of Macon County

$500,000 to purchase machinery and equipment to support the location of Flint River Foods, LLC, a vegetable processing company, to Macon County. Flint River Foods, LLC is a newly created entity that is a joint venture between Glory Foods, Inc. and New Era Canning Company. Flint River Foods has acquired the Birds Eye fresh-pack plant in Montezuma, vacant since the early part of 2003, to establish a facility to can and freeze greens and other vegetables supplied by 14 local growers, 12 located in South Georgia and two in South Carolina. This project is expected to create 170 new jobs in five years. The company has created 142 jobs to date. Total project cost exceeds $11 million.

Putnam Development Authority

$350,000 to purchase machinery and equipment for Haband Company, a mail-order clothing company in Eatonton. Haband has been in business since 1925 and has had a presence in Eatonton since 1988. Haband has made a strategic decision to combine both of its distribution operations ( Eatonton , Georgia and Peckville , Pennsylvania ) into one location. In addition, the company operates a call center in Athens that employs 250 persons. The decision to combine operations in Georgia will also retain the 250 jobs at the Athens call center. This project is expected to provide positive economic impact to neighboring Tier 1 counties with the creation of 125 new jobs while also protecting the 269 existing jobs in Eatonton. The company will make an additional private investment of at least $2.4 million. The facility has exceeded projected job count of 394 with a total of 437 jobs.

Development Authority of Emanuel County and the City of Swainsboro

$300,000 to construct 10,000 SF of additional warehouse space ($209,107) and provide parking-lot improvements ($90,893) for Capro , Inc., an existing manufacturer in Swainsboro. Capro , Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Teleflex, Incorporated, a highly diversified and global company that provides engineered products and services. Capro manufactures mechanical cables for use in brake and throttle controls in lawnmowers and snow blowers. Faced by customer pressures to cut costs as well as a desire to expand into a more diversified market base, the Company had decided to either consolidate operations or move them overseas in search of lower cost labor. The Swainsboro operation is one of nine Capro , Inc. plants in North America , in addition to four plants in Europe and one in Asia. This project is expected to create 35 new jobs and protect 130 existing jobs with an existing annual payroll exceeding $3 million.

Thomasville Payroll Development Authority

$1,250,000 to assist with the purchase of a 277,519 SF building located on a 29.9-acre site in the Plantation Oaks Industrial Park in Thomasville for American Signature, Inc. American Signature, Inc., a subsidiary of Schottenstein Stores Corporation, is establishing a regional distribution center for furniture, accessories and bedding at a site vacated by Helig -Myers. Additionally, the Company has plans to expand the building to 704,000 SF on adjacent land. The distribution center is seen as an integral part of the company's aggressive plan to enter the Southeastern furniture market. The Thomasville distribution center is expected to serve at least 57 new retail stores in the Southeast, 16 of which will be located in Georgia. The facility currently has 75 employees with plans for expansion to support their projection of 213 new jobs within 54 months and a private investment of $18.75 million.

Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority

$770,000 to assist with site preparation costs for the construction of a new 520,000 SF distribution center to be located in Airport East Industrial Park in Bibb County. Kohl's Department Stores, Inc., a national retailer, is seeking to open and operate a regional merchandise processing and distribution facility for the southeastern United States. The distribution center will serve Kohl's department stores in southeastern states, including Georgia , Florida , South Carolina , North Carolina , Alabama and Tennessee. Kohl's will create 200 new jobs initially, growing to a total of 500 jobs by the end of the fifth year with a private investment of $38.9 million.

Screven County Development Authority

$400,000 to purchase new machinery and equipment to be leased to Westex Acquisitions, LLC, a textile company in Screven County. The equipment will be owned by the Development Authority and leased back to Westex Acquisitions, LLC, and then subleased to King America Finishing, Inc., an affiliate. Westex acquired land, a building and equipment from a bankrupt company in Sylvania , Screven County , to manufacture flame-resistant fabrics. Its products are manufactured using innovative fabrics and are used in the electric-utility, oil, gas, petrochemical, military and metal industries. This project will create 150 new jobs with private investment of over $2 million.

Carrollton Payroll Development Authority

$189,000 to purchase a CISCO 6513 switch on behalf of AirTran Airways. AirTran will establish a new in-bound reservation center in a 7,200 SF building in the Glen Eagles Professional Park in Carrollton. The Authority will own the switch and lease it to AirTran for five years. AirTran Airways is the tenth largest airline in the United States in terms of passenger volume and departures. AirTran also operates customer reservation centers in Atlanta and Savannah. This project will create 220 new full-time and part-time jobs within four years (estimate of full-time equivalent positions is 154) with private investment of $1.7 million.

Joint Development Authority of Brooks, Colquitt, Grady, Mitchell and Thomas Counties

$625,000 to partially fund the acquisition of an existing 158,000 SF industrial building in Colquitt County for use as a production facility by Ice House America, LLC, a manufacturer of ice-vending machines. These stand-alone vending units are capable of producing 500 bags of ice per day. The unit dispenses 16-pound bags of ice and 20 pounds of bulk ice. The facility will be owned by the Joint Development Authority and leased to Ice House America LLC for a period of ten years. This project will create 157 new jobs within three years with private investment of $2.25 million. Total project cost exceeds $4 million.

Since the authority was created in October 2000, more than $107 million has been awarded in grants and loans. These projects support the creation and/or retention of 18,730 jobs in 103 of Georgia 's most economically depressed counties. For additional information, please refer to the authority's website: