Grant & Loan Awards: Mitchell County
ESB loan guarantee to purchase an Auto-Slab II, a sod cutting machine in support of the expansion of Big Slough Farms, Inc., an existing sod farm started in 1999 in Camilla. The company is a family owned and operated business specializing in residential and commercial sod and turf installations. The major top-quality brands available include Tif Blair Centipede Grass, Emerald Zoysia, Meyer Zoysia and many more. Big Slough Farms has over 570 acres of turf available. The lender is Planters and Citizens Bank of Camilla.
BRIDGE funds to construct a wireless broadband system across the 5-county area. A feasibility study conducted by TechSmart reflects a great demand for high speed connectivity in the counties of Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller and Mitchell. The backbone of these rural counties is agriculture and, more recently, nature-based tourism. Wireless broadband provides an opportunity to support their economy while protecting their valuable resources. This project supports a system that will allow farmers to implement precision agricultural practices increasing profits, preserving natural resources and decreasing chemical and water usage. There will be multiple benefits to the counties in the area of business development, tourism, education and local government efficiency.
AIRGeorgia funds to assist in the extension and widening of the runway to 5,000 feet to support larger jet type aircraft and other medium size aircraft. The project scope calls for the extension of and widening of runway 08-26 at the airport from 4,005 feet by sixty feet to 5,000 feet by 100 feet including lighting and marking. Existing runway width does not meet FAA and State requirements. The extension is necessary in order to utilize the airport as an economic resource for the area to spur economic growth by being better able to serve large industries and small businesses, which will lead to new capital investment and new job growth in the area. This project has potential to create future direct and indirect jobs.
Equity funds to support needed improvements to existing public roads in order to serve the new ethanol production plant under construction by First United Ethanol LLC (FUEL). The 90-acre site is served by narrow, unpaved public roads located near Highway 19. Improvements are required to assure safety of the estimated 150-300 trucks at the site on a daily basis. The proposed improvements include paving and widening the exit roads, creating an acel/decel lane and a median cut. FUEL, with farmers/investors representing five counties, executed a Letter of Intent with Fagen, Inc. to design and build the ethanol plant. This project is expected to create 50 direct jobs and an estimated 350 indirect jobs. An economic impact study prepared by UGA indicated that economic output at the ethanol plant in Mitchell County would total $266.6 million annually to the Georgia economy.
BRIDGE funds to assist with a five-county (Baker, Calhoun, Early, Miller, Mitchell) regional technology assessment, TECHSMART. Georgia Tech staff will conduct a series of community-wide meetings to assist the local leadership and stakeholders in identifying the regionâ€™s technology assets/needs as well as opportunities. This current technology benchmark will serve as the basis for the development of an integrated plan, the Digital Development Plan or â€œroadmapâ€ for future technology development and utilization within the region. In addition, grant funds are awarded to assist with site study, engineering and preliminary system design for development of a high-speed wireless broadband access system to support a number of agricultural applications, including remote pivot irrigation, as well as to community residents and businesses located within the five counties.
Equity funds to assist with construction of a deceleration lane on Highway 19 South and a paved public road to access the Superior Park Model Homes, headquartered at Lake Okeechobee, Fla. Following a site selection and workforce assessment, the company plans to manufacture rustic cabin-like vacation homes 46â€™ long and 12 to 14â€™ wide to a 14-state dealer network. Superior Park Model Homes also owns Everglades Adventures RV and Sailing Resort in Florida which offers vacation and recreational opportunities to clients including fishing, boating and other outdoor activities.
EDGE funds to assist with the purchase of a milk separator and control system for the company's proposed ultra-filtration plant to be located in Mitchell County. Southeast Milk, Inc., is a 240 dairy member marketing cooperative, producing and marketing approximately three billion pounds of milk annually. This project will create 62 new jobs with private investment of $5.65 million. Mitchell County is in competition with Morriston, Florida.
Equity funds to aid in the purchase and rehabilitation of the historic Hand Trading Company Building, preserving a local treasure for the community while also renovating the facility to support job retention and increase new job opportunities. The Hand Building, dating from 1916, is the most prominent landmark in downtown Pelham. The building is currently occupied by RESA, a restaurant, gift shop, optometrist and a hardware store, providing 44 jobs in the community. The renovation of the building is seen as a major component of the community's downtown revitalization efforts. The renovation is expected to create a minimum of 18 new jobs in addition to the 44 currently employed there.
Equity funds for construction of a one million gallon elevated water storage tank and 12 water main. Main will tie new tank into existing water system, provide an adequate water supply and an effective level of fire protection to existing industries and provide additional capacity for future growth.
EDGE funds to assist with rehabilitation of a Moultrie meat processing facility for use by National Beef, creating 163 full-time permanent jobs at start up with an estimated payroll of $3.96 million within 24 months of sustained operation.