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Governor Perdue Announces OneGeorgia Awards

Tuesday, August 26, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today nearly $8 million in grant and loan awards from the OneGeorgia Authority to fourteen of Georgia's most economically distressed communities. These funds will assist with a variety of economic development projects in rural Georgia aimed at creating new jobs and private investment, the retention of existing jobs, capacity building projects, and centralized dispatch Regional E-911 systems.

"Stimulating new job growth and private investment is a top priority of my administration," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "These awards support the creation of nearly 700 new jobs for Georgians as well as the retention of 350 jobs in a variety of industry sectors including manufacturing, food processing, distribution centers, value-added agriculture and human services."

The OneGeorgia Authority, chaired by Governor Perdue, was created utilizing one-third of the state's tobacco settlement to assist the state's most economically challenged areas. The OneGeorgia Authority will receive about $1.6 billion over the 25-year term of the settlement.

The equity awards, round 3 of FY03 funding, are designed to assist communities and regions build the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. 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 September 23, 2003.

Equity awards total $3,377,016 and include five grants totaling $2,313,368 and three loans totaling $1,063,648. Awards announced today include:

Blackshear, City of
A grant of $500,000 is requested to provide gap financing for public infrastructure, specifically water and sewer, to the regional 150-acre Blackshear/Pierce County Industrial Park under development by the City of Blackshear, Pierce County, Pierce County I.D.A. and Okefenokee Area D.A. (OADA). An additional 425 adjacent acres have been purchased and the water/sewer system will be designed to serve this expansion. The park, located between Waycross and Blackshear on US Highway 84, serves eight industries occupying 74.8 acres of the park with a total of 117 existing full-time employees. Two of the industries use highly combustible materials with all industries currently dependent on private wells and septic tanks for water and sewer. . The applicant is currently upgrading the wastewater treatment plant with a $2 million GEFA loan. A grant to support water and sewer infrastructure will address current demands as well as providing the capacity necessary for future growth.

$500,000 Grant
$1,729,223 Total Project Cost

Hawkinsville, City of
A grant of $500,000 to assist with the construction of a 14,494 square foot Workforce Development Center containing multi-purpose classrooms, lab areas for technical training and other necessary space for the citizens of Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, and surrounding areas. The facility will be located in the city's Technology Park, a 232-acre industrial park, easily accessible from highway 247 and 341. The center will allow Middle Georgia Technical College (MGTC) to expand vocational training offerings, including certificate programs previously unavailable, giving local citizens skill sets currently in demand by local industries. MGTC offers limited classes due to limited leased space at a local manufacturing facility in Hawkinsville. The construction of a workforce training facility would support a number of programs including Aircraft Structural Technology, Auto Service Technology, Health Science Technology, Business Education, and Agriculture Education without making the 60-mile trip to Warner Robins. In addition, the center would meet the demand for dual enrollment of high school students at MGTC for these technical programs. Other programming needs that will be met include Adult Literacy classes.

$500,000 Grant
$1,640,000 Total Project Cost

Helena, City of
A grant of $500,000 to assist with site improvements and water/sewer infrastructure to a new 42-acre industrial site purchased by the Telfair County Industrial Authority and strategically located on Hwy 441 directly across from the Telfair Instructional Center (Heart of Georgia Technical College). This project represents a collaborative effort between the governmental entities of Helena, McRae and Telfair County. The development of this new park is imperative because the county's 40-acre Industrial Park located in McRae is filled to capacity and the area struggles with high unemployment and limited opportunities to expand private investment and job growth. This project will promote trade, commerce, industry and employment opportunities within the City of Helena, McRae and Telfair County. The City also plans to construct a new six-inch waterline to support the instructional center.

$500,000 Grant
$761,215 Total Project Cost

Tifton, City of
Loan funds of $163,648 are requested to extend the City's telecommunications network, CityNet, to serve the new 100-acre Union Road Industrial Park, the Tift area campus of Moultrie Technical College, and also newly expanding industry along the route including Orgill Brothers and Target Distribution Center. The extension will cover 6.4 miles and tie in from a head-end node on CityNet's existing network. The City of Tifton established the network in 1998 and with a current investment exceeding $4 million, believes that the availability of high-speed internet access to the industrial park will enhance the park's marketability and the community's overall incentive package. The industrial park is expected to create nearly 500 jobs at build-out capacity. Equity funds will be used to purchase and/or lease equipment.

$163,648 Loan
$4,163,648 Total Project Cost

Crisp County-Cordele Industrial Development Authority
Loan funds of $500,000 to construct a 100,000 square foot industrial speculative building on a 30-acre site in the Cedar Creek Corporate Park in order to attract new industrial prospects. The Industrial Development Authority has acquired tracts totaling 238 acres strategically located along Georgia 300 near the Interstate 75 interchange for the development of this park. The Authority has optioned additional acreage for future expansion. This project is the result of the county's original industrial park, Cordele Industrial Park, reaching maximum capacity with upwards of 1800 workers. The applicant noted that five new industries with a total of 675 new jobs have established operations in Crisp County in the past two years. This strong marketing strategy by the community has created a situation with no available buildings or sites that can be marketed to new industrial prospects. The project demonstrated strong local commitment including the purchase of property and over $1.3 million of local investment toward construction of the building.

$500,000 Loan
$1,930,000 Total Project Cost

Greene County
A grant of $500,000 to construct a 5,500 square foot airport terminal at the Greene County Airport to promote tourism and economic development within the county and surrounding

region. The airport's terminal is just 660 square feet. Tourism in the County has grown by 214% since 1998 and weekly aircraft operations at the airport have increased by 105% since 1999 (from 36 to 80). Nearly $2.2 million has been invested at the airport since 1998 with $365,000 of this in local funds. The community plans to provide $328,900 in local funds to support the new terminal. The proposed terminal building will include a lobby/welcome center that will accommodate up to 60 people. In addition, the proposal includes modern meeting facilities. The FBO (fixed base operator) projects the creation of 9 new jobs as a result of increased demand and traffic.

$500,000 Grant
$828,900 Total Project Cost

Jeffersonville, City of and Twiggs County Development Authority
A grant of $313,368 is requested to purchase 114.54 acres of property located adjacent to I-16 and GA 96 for use as the county's first industrial park. Twiggs County is heavily dependent on the kaolin industry with over 44% of county employment in this sector. The City and County are working together to develop an industrial park in hopes of diversifying the economy and also taking advantage of their strategic location. Recently, the community lost two potential industries due to the lack of available sites

$313,368 Grant
$340,168 Total Project Cost

Pulaski County-Hawkinsville Development Authority
Loan funds of $400,000 are requested to purchase refrigeration equipment in support of Hardy Farms' expansion into a new 21,000 square foot facility. Hardy Farms is a 12-year agri-business industry in middle Georgia, growing distributing and marketing peanut products throughout the southeast. Hardy Farms has extended the "value-added" process by not only growing peanuts but also taking raw peanuts, boiling and selling the final product. The success of Hardy Farms has extended from "mom-and-pop" retailers to the recent agreement with major retailers including Wal-Mart, Harvey's and Publix. These agreements require Hardy Farms to supply these retailers with frozen boiled peanuts, raw peanuts and boiled peanuts in ready-to-eat packaging. The purchase of this equipment will allow Hardy Farms to expand its market and remain competitive in the peanut industry. New private investment exceeds $1.3 million for this expansion and will protect 13 existing employees while also supporting the creation of 13 new jobs.

$400,000 Loan
$1, 746,140 Total Project Cost

Governor Perdue also recognized four EDGE award recipients. The EDGE (Economic Development, Growth & Enterprise) fund is designed to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants that are being considered as a relocation or expansion site and are competing with another state for the location of the project. The EDGE awards totaling $3,175,000 and leveraged against total project costs of $29.2 million include:

Development Authority of Burke County
$2,250,000 to assist with the purchase of an existing facility (Qwikset) for the location of a manufacturing facility for Fleetguard, Inc. Fleetguard, Inc., a subsidiary of Cummins, Inc., is the leading worldwide designer and manufacturer of filtration products and exhaust systems for heavy-duty diesel powered engines. Fleetguard products are manufactured in 23 plants in nine countries. The company has strong market presence and has received multiple awards for its excellent quality and service support. In 2001 PACCAR, manufacturer of Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks awarded Fleetguard its "Aftermarket Excellence Award" in recognition of outstanding quality parts and service support. Fleetguard has also won Volvo's "Aftermarket Supplier of the Year" award. And recently, Penske Leasing, a leading national truck rental and leasing company, named Fleetguard "Supplier of the Year" in the accessories category for the fifth consecutive year. The Waynesboro facility will manufacture mufflers for diesel trucks. This project is expected to create 400 new jobs over a 3-year period.

Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Development Authority
$605,000 to assist with the purchase of a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility on a 20-acre site in Ben Hill County for the expansion of Coachman Recreational Vehicle Company of Georgia. With an additional private investment of $2 million, this expansion will provide Coachman with the capacity requirements necessary to meet the demand for travel trailer and fifth wheel product offerings in the seven Southeastern states that it serves. 175 new jobs are projected over the next 3 years while retaining 168 jobs at the original facility. The new facility and employment is projected to have a positive economic impact of over $6,000,000 in Ben Hill County.

Thomasville Payroll Development Authority
$170,000 to acquire a vacant 22,000 square foot facility in Boston, Georgia to house existing operations of Dillon Candy Company and a planned expansion. Dillon Candy Company, the largest employer in Boston, is a third generation family-owned business started in the early 1900s producing specialty nut candies. The company also supports agriculture by purchasing pecans and peanuts grown in rural Georgia in the production of these candies. The expansion will allow the company to retain the existing 32 jobs and add an additional 17 jobs within 36 months.

Tift County Development Authority
$150,000 to assist in the purchase of equipment for a new furniture distribution and manufacturing facility located in Tifton for Turner's Fine Furniture Inc, a fourth-generation family owned business. Turner's Furniture began as a hardware business in Pelham in 1915 and during the past 85 years has expanded into a network of fine furniture stores serving South Georgia and North Florida. Edge funds will be specifically used to purchase a storage-rack system for the furniture distribution portion of the new facility. The new facility will also contain space for furniture manufacturing. This distribution facility will serve Turner's furniture retail stores in Georgia (Albany, Moultrie, Tifton and Valdosta) and Florida. The company employs over 150 in Georgia and anticipates the creation of 40 new jobs at the distribution center. The total project cost, including land preparation, building construction and equipment purchase, is $2.5 million.

Governor Perdue also announced the first two awards from the OneGeorgia Regional E-911 Fund. The Middle Flint E-911 Authority includes 7 counties, 21 municipalities and 42 public safety agencies. The Tri-County E-911 Authority includes 3 counties, 4 municipalities and 20 public safety agencies.

"These two projects are outstanding examples of collaboration and regionalism. We are closer to the day when every Georgian will have emergency services protecting their loved ones and valuable possessions," said Governor Perdue.

The Regional E-911 Fund was created with a budget of $3 million to assist 28 counties in Georgia to create a regional dispatching system. Applications must be regional in nature with a minimum of two counties to be eligible for funding.

"I encourage other counties without E-911 services to team up and take advantage of the financial resources available under this program," added Perdue.

Middle Flint Regional E-911 Authority
$700,000 to assist with the construction of a regional E-911 center, including the purchase of dispatching and radio equipment as well as parking and fencing to serve the 81,365 residents of these seven Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. The center will be centrally located in the city of Ellaville, Schley County. This will be the largest E-911 service area in Georgia, covering twenty-eight jurisdictions.

Tri-County E-911 Authority
$500,000 to assist in the construction of a regional E-911 center, including the purchase of equipment to serve the 21,728 residents within the three Tier 1 counties of Atkinson, Clinch and Lanier. The center will be centrally located in Lanier County near the Clinch County border. In addition, the center will employ 13 with a total project cost of $797,835.