Special to Atmore News
The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded the city of Atmore a $2 million grant to complete a rail spur in Atmore Industrial Park, which will primarily serve the new Coastal Growers LLC peanut shelling facility.
Total project funding — a combination of $2 million in federal funds, $300,000 in state funds and $200,000 in local funds — will be used to construct a rail spur from the CSX main line into the industrial park.
“We appreciate the EDA very much for supporting our project,” Atmore Mayor Jim Staff said. “This is an important project for the city of Atmore and the farmers of our area, and we’re thankful for this help and ready to get started.”
Coastal Growers ships much of its product by rail to customers in the candy and peanut butter business, among other end users. Coastal Growers CEO Dirk Lindsey said the presence of the CSX main line was a major factor in attracting Coastal Growers to Atmore.
“We are really happy to see the city of Atmore receive this grant,” Lindsey said. “This is going to be vital to our business and a big help to the city of Atmore. We thank everyone who had anything to do with getting this grant.”
Atmore Industrial Park can now be considered rail-served, which will increase its marketability, said Jess Nicholas, who serves as CEO of Centerfire Economic and as executive director of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority.
“As important as this is to Coastal Growers, what it means for the future of the industrial park cannot be overlooked,” Nicholas said. “There aren’t many fully rail-served industrial parks in our area, and this is a huge win for Atmore and Escambia County as a whole.”
The city of Eufaula also received a $2 million EDA grant for sewer system improvements.
“These EDA investments will allow the cities of Atmore and Eufaula to obtain the modern and sustainable infrastructure they need to support business and create well-paying jobs for local citizens.,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville also praised the grant awards, noting that the money will help alleviate a problem that is prevalent throughout the area and the state.
“In my conversations with Alabamians, the need for infrastructure repairs and expansion nearly always comes up when talking about attracting new economic opportunities,” Tuberville said. “The EDA funds going toward infrastructure projects to complement these two new job-creating businesses will strengthen the Atmore and Eufaula communities and make them better places to live, work and raise a family.”