SEEDS grant package includes money for Atmore

Special to Atmore News

Gov. Kay Ivey announced recently that the State Industrial Development Authority (SIDA) has approved over $30 million in grants from the new Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy (SEEDS) Act, which is designed to speed up the development of much-needed industry-ready sites across the state.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, SIDA also approved 15 development grants valued at $29 million for purposes such as infrastructure improvements, land purchases and site grading.
Communities including Atmore, Jasper, Opelika and Mobile will receive the funding and will provide total matching funds of $37.8 million – although City of Atmore officials said they have not yet been formally notified that the city was selected for the development grant funds.
The groundbreaking SEEDS grant program — a key portion of the governor’s “Game Plan” package of economic development bills approved by the Legislature last year — is aimed at the state’s urgent need for quality industrial sites at a time when other states are spending heavily to expand their site programs.
A total of $30.1 million in SEEDS money will be matched with $38.4 million in local funds at 29 different industrial sites encompassing nearly 8,400 acres.
“SEEDS represents an important tool that will allow us to keep winning those economic development projects that trigger lasting impacts for Alabama citizens,” the governor said. “The awarding of the first grants under the program represents a milestone in our efforts to make sure Alabama remains competitive for game-changing growth projects.”
Ellen McNair, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the grants would expedite the state’s industrial growth by providing a critical function of the recruiting process.
“We’ve been very successful in economic development during Gov. Ivey’s tenure — so successful, in fact, that we find ourselves with a shortage of fully developed sites,” McNair said. “The SEEDS Act is allowing us to identify and develop sites as a critical function of our ability to recruit new industry and jobs. We must have a product to sell.”
Cedric Colbert, senior site selection consultant at Global Location Strategies, said identification and development of quality industrial sites are crucial to continued industrial growth in Alabama.
“Over the past 10 years, economic development projects in Alabama have resulted in the creation of over 167,000 new jobs and $67 billion in capital investment,” he said. “To maintain this level of success, it is crucial that Alabama communities continuously work to identify, assess, and develop their inventory of sites toward investment-readiness.
“By enabling proactive site improvements that will minimize risk to future investment projects, these SEEDS Act grants will directly improve Alabama’s ability to compete for economic development projects on a national scale.”