Grant & Loan Awards: Columbia County
BRIDGE funds to assist with two regional technology studies for the McDuffie, Columbia, Lincoln, Warren and Wilkes five-county area. With a geographical footprint of 1500 square miles, a combined population exceeding 150,000, and four of the five counties having a poverty rate greater than 17.5%, the five counties propose to work with Georgia Tech's TechSmart program to identify gaps in broadband infrastructure, benchmark current technology utilization and develop a community and regional technology roadmap. Digitel responsibilities include inventory of vertical assets, topography and infrastructure needs to deploy broadband to the underserved areas of the five counties. The five counties will join forces to expand high speed internet access to underserved areas in the five-county region to promote economic development. In addition, they have an opportunity to leverage their collective bargaining power to attract private partners, control cost of equipment and enhance their regional competitiveness.
Equity funds for assistance with road improvements to support the Factory Master Plan (capital improvement initiative) of John Deere, a global manufacturer of agriculture equipment, that was founded in 1837 and employs approximately 46,000 people worldwide. The company located in Columbia County's Horizon South Business Park in 1991 and currently employs 700 full and part-time employees at this location. As a result this capital improvement initiative, the company commits to creating 20 new full-time jobs and investing $6 million in capital improvements.