Grant & Loan Awards: Worth County
AIRGeorgia grant funds will be used to assist with improvements to the Sylvester Municipal Airport in Worth County including the extension of its runway from 3,293 feet to 5,000 feet and reconstruction of the existing runway to correct a line of sight safety issue. Funds will also be used to install medium Intensity Runway lights and airfield Guidance Signs. The County is the third largest producer of cotton in Georgia, ranks tenth in vegetable production and is the second leading peanut producing county in the state. The Sylvester Municipal Airport is located approximately three miles west of Sylvester and facilitates approximately 4,000 takeoffs/landings per year. Three airplanes are based at the airport, even though 11 are owned by County residents. The proposed improvements are needed to support local industries that are current or potential airport users and to promote economic development. A fixed base operator will locate at the airport, provide a variety of aviation related services and result in the creation of three jobs.
Equity funds to assist with the acquisition of 205 acres of land adjoining Worth County South Industrial Park in Sylvester to expand the Park. Worth County (WC) is located in SW Georgia and bordered by 7 counties with 62% of its workforce commuting to another county to work each day. Current unemployment rate is 8% and expected to rise due to the recent devastating news that Cooper Tire will close its Albany facility, resulting in the loss of 2,100 jobs. This will have an adverse impact on WC who has 180 residents employed by Cooper Tire. WC’s two industrial parks are at capacity and a lack of suitable industrial sites has been recognized by the EDA as a limiting factor to its economic development. Availability of sites located on a 4-lane (US Hwy 82) in close proximity to interstate routes (85, 75, and 95) and with utilities available is a tool that will enable the EDA to market the county more effectively. The selected site also has rail abutting its south border. Having regional significance, commissioners in Lee, Colquitt and Mitchell Counties have endorsed this application.
Equity funds to assist Southern Heritage Woodworks, Inc., with building acquisition. The Equity funds would be used to assist in purchasing an existing 45,000 square foot facility on 13.83-acres within the Worth County 112 North Industrial Park. This project will create 16 new full-time jobs in addition to the 9 current positions and generate private investment of $370,000.