Governor Perdue Announces OneGeorgia Awards

DAHLONEGA, GA –Governor Sonny Perdue and members of the OneGeorgia Authority Board today visited North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega and approved $13.4 M in grants and loans from the OneGeorgia Authority’s portfolio of financing programs including EDGE, SILF, Equity, AIRGeorgia, BRIDGE and ESB.

These awards will assist with a variety of economic development projects in rural Georgia aimed at creating jobs, stimulating new private investment, supporting the retention of existing jobs and enhancing regional competitiveness through capacity-building projects. These projects, along with their respective local leadership representatives, were recognized at the OneGeorgia board meeting.

Company officials and local leaders associated with the most recent EDGE awards were recognized at today’s meeting. The six EDGE awards, totaling $4,630,450, are leveraged against more than $119 million in total project costs and are projected to create over 1,535 jobs within the next three years.

Development Authority of Washington County / Bennett Building Systems, LLC

Site preparation and building improvements to support the location of Bennett Building Systems, LLC (BBS), a division of Bennett International Group, LLC. BBS is constructing a 62,000 SF facility on a 21 acre site in Tennille to manufacture metal utility buildings such as lawn storage sheds. Bennett International Group, headquartered in McDonough, provides a variety of logistics, transportation and supply-chain solutions to the government and commercial markets. With a total of six companies, the Company delivers these services nationally and internationally.

EDGE Award: $350,000 Total Project Cost: $4,350,000 100 new jobs in two years

Development Authority of Burke County / ASTA, Inc.

Building improvements in support of the location of ASTA, Inc., to the former Kwikset/Fleetguard 209,000 square-foot facility in Waynesboro that is situated on 50 acres. ASTA will manufacture a specialized copper product known as Continuously Transposed Conductors (CTC) and will distribute throughout the North American market. This will be the first U.S. facility for the parent company, Metrod (Malaysia) Berhad (MB). MB is a leading provider of oxygen-free electrical copper wires, rods and strips which are used in the cable, telecommunications, electrical and power industries. In addition, MB has facilities in Malaysia, Thailand, Austria and China.

EDGE Award: $480,000 Total Project Cost: $19,024,521 100 new jobs in two years

Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority / Home Depot USA, Inc.

Site preparation in support of the location of a distribution center for Home Depot USA, Inc. (HD), the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer. The Company plans to construct a 657,600 square-foot facility on 90 acres in the Lake Park Industrial Park in Valdosta. The Home Depot, Inc., founded in 1978 and headquartered in Atlanta, is a Fortune 500 company and has over 2,200 stores throughout the world with more than 331,000 associates. This project is expected to have significant regional impact as Lowndes County draws its employment from seven surrounding rural counties.

EDGE Award: $1,000,000 Total Project Cost: $36,592,287 570 new jobs in three years

Tift County Development Authority / Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, LLC

Building construction to support the expansion of Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, LLC (HRP), a manufacturer of climate-control solutions for commercial and industrial applications. The Company plans to construct a 310,000 square-foot manufacturing facility adjacent to its existing facility in the Magnolia Industrial Park in Tifton. HRP, headquartered in Stone Mountain, is a subsidiary of Lennox International, a publicly traded company whose history dates from 1895 when Dave Lennox built and sold the industry’s first riveted-steel furnace which was more durable than the cast iron furnaces of the time. Units manufactured at the Tifton facility include evaporators, condensers and other refrigeration products representing five market leading brands: Bohn, Larkin, Climate Control, Chandler and Interlink. With 267 existing jobs and 325 new jobs, this expansion will make the Tifton plant the only refrigeration manufacturing facility in North America for Heatcraft Refrigeration Products.

EDGE Award: $1,000,000 Total Project Cost: $25,492,600 325 new jobs in two years

Brooks County Development Authority / Crown Health Care Laundry Services, Inc.

Building improvements to an existing 80,000 square-foot manufacturing facility to support the location of Crown Health Care Laundry Services, Inc. (CHLS) to Quitman. The Company, founded in 1955 and recognized as a top quality linen and service provider, has processing facilities in Selma, AL; Pensacola, FL; and Columbia, SC. Currently all of these facilities are operating at full capacity. The Company markets to the healthcare industry and currently has contracts with hospital and nursing home facilities in the south-central regions of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. Services include linen rental, clinic route service, surgical pack assembly, on-premise laundry management and direct linen sales. As more hospitals, nursing homes and surgery centers concentrate on their core business of patient care, the company believes they will have the opportunity to expand their market share. According to the Textile Rental Services Association’s 2008 Strategic Analysis, the textile services market will surpass $14 billion in sales in 2008.

EDGE Award: $375,000 Total Project Cost: $5,190,600 140 new jobs in two years

Meriwether County Industrial Development Authority / Dongwon Autopart Technology Georgia, LLC

Site preparation costs to support the location of Dongwon Autopart Technology Georgia, LLC (DATG), a Korean-based auto parts manufacturer, to Lone Oak in Meriwether County. DATG plans to construct a 120,000 to 150,000 SF facility on a 30-acre site in the new Meriwether Park. The Company has been a KIA supplier for three years and will manufacture door frames, side impact beams, roof molding, side absorbers and cross bars for the new KIA facility in West Point. DATG is a subsidiary of Dongwon Metal Company, Ltd. (DMC), founded in 1971 and headquartered in the Republic of South Korea. Previously, DMC had a total of nine manufacturing plants on three continents. The Georgia facility is #10 and its second facility in North America.

EDGE Award: $1,425,450 Total Project Cost: $28,635,403 300 new jobs in two years

The Strategic Industries Loan Fund is intended to be used only when needed to fill a financing gap not met in the private sector and is targeted to science and technology based industries in which development-stage companies are creating commercially promising technologies and the opportunity for higher quality jobs in rural Georgia. One SILF award was made today.

Douglas-Coffee County Industrial Authority / Optima Chemical Group, LLC

SILF loan funds will be used to support the expansion of Optima Chemical Group, LLC (OCG) in Douglas. The loan will be used to expand the current facility located on a 32-acre site in Douglas, construct a new building containing clean rooms for product isolation and packaging pursuant to FDA requirements, and also new equipment necessary to meet the growing demands of its pharmaceutical and technical base of customers. OCG, formed in 1997, manufactures custom industrial and organic chemicals, conducts research and develops new products for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, bioscience, personal care and foods/flavors industries. OGC’s research and manufacturing operations can support projects from a pre-clinical stage to full-scale production application. Over the last five years the Company has invested over $11 million to add capacity including chemical reactors and needed support equipment to meet growing demand. As a result, OCG is experiencing significant growth which now requires an extensive expansion of its physical facility, core infrastructure services and the purchase of strategic pieces of production equipment needed to support additional production. Specifically, OCG requires additional warehousing, lab and office space to accommodate this growth. Customers include: Merck, Bayer, Lilly, Roche, Bristol-Meyers, Squibb, DuPont, and GlaxoSmithKline. OCG commits to create 40 new jobs by the end of 2010 creating a total of 96 skilled and quality jobs.

SILF Loan Award: $2,500,000 Total Project Cost: $7,100,000 40 new jobs within four years (2006-2010) OCG had 56 employees at project inception in September 2006

The Equity Fund is designed to assist communities and regions in building the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. The program’s flexibility also provides financial assistance to enhance publicly-owned tourism initiatives, workforce development opportunities and downtown revitalization projects. In addition, loan funds are available through the Equity Revolving Loan Fund to assist small business owners with business growth and expansion opportunities. Nine Equity awards totaling just over $3 million were made today.

City of Folkston- Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

The Equity grant funds will be used for sewer infrastructure improvements to support the expansion of the D. Ray James State Prison which is privately owned and operated by Cornell Companies, Inc. (CCI). CCI currently houses 2,080 inmates, employs 317 and is the largest industry in the County. This fourth phase of their expansion will add 700 new inmates to the prison population, resulting in the creation of 51 new jobs. The City must expand its wastewater treatment facility in order to meet immediate and projected demands on the public sewer system. Total project cost is $35,664,430 and will be funded through various sources including $500,000 from the Employment Incentive Program (EIP), $664,430 from Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) and private investment of $34,000,000 from CCI.

Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Development Authority – Machinery and Equipment

The Equity loan funds will be used to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment on behalf of Agri-Products, Inc./Suncoast Bedding’s (API) location to the Fitzgerald Industrial Park in Ben Hill County. API manufactures superior animal bedding using pure pine. The timber is harvested, chipped into shavings, dried and compressed into bales for shipping. The company serves US clients and exports to Korea, China, Dubai, Mexico and Canada. API has expanded into Fitzgerald for availability to the Georgia ports and the regional availability of pulp timber. The company expects to purchase $5 million of timber annually from within a 50 mile radius. API commits to a private investment of $5,414,000. Other public investment totals $420,815 which represents $55,000 local investment and $365,815 from EIP for total project costs of $6,334,815.

Equity Loan Award: $500,000 Total Project Cost: $6,334,815 Create 50 new jobs in 2 years

Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County –Water, Sewer, and Rail Infrastructure

Equity grant funds will be used for the construction of public water, sewer and rail that will serve Phase II of Commodore Industrial Park with approximately 140 acres. Improvements include 8” water lines, sewer pump station, 4” force main, rail spur and an access road through the center connecting SR 253 to the south and Butler Ferry Road to the north. Southwest Georgia Oil Company’s (dba INLAND) new 10 million gallon biodiesel refinery is the anchor tenant in this Phase of the Park. The refinery represents increased vertical integration of company strengths into the innovative and rapidly growing alternative fuels market. Southwest Georgia Oil Company is a locally owned and operated Bainbridge company established in 1959 and a regional employer with 275 jobs. INLAND has invested over $5.7 million in construction and start-up costs and expects to create 18 jobs. Total project costs include $6,022,707 from INLAND, other public investment of $195,570 from Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and $1,721,966 in local investment.

Equity Grant Award: $520,000 Total Project Cost: $8,140,243 Create 18 new jobs in two years

Development Authority of Peach County – Machinery and Equipment

The Equity loan funds will be used to purchase a new laser system for the metal fabrication sector of Southern Perfection Fabrication Holdings, Inc. (SPF) located in Byron, Peach County. SPF, founded in 1982, is a family-owned business that manufactures metal racks and other items used primarily in the bakery and automotive industries. Building renovations by owners to accommodate the new equipment will allow capacity to break into new markets and better service current clients, including Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Sara Lee, and Blue Bird Bus Company. SPF currently has 20 jobs and commits to create 30 jobs in 2 years. Total project cost is $763,900 which includes a private investment of $258,900 and a local commitment of $5,000.

Equity Loan Award: $500,000 Total Project Cost: $763,900 Create 30 jobs within two years

Americus – Sumter Payroll Development Authority – Facilitating Business Development / Rail Infrastructure

The Equity loan funds will be used to assist with construction of 2,500 LF of track to handle railcars moving through the repair shop at Southeast Railcar and Locomotive Service, Inc. (SERCL), a division of the Heart of Georgia Railroad. SERCL has established a 23-acre railcar refurbishment facility west of Americus, Sumter County. The owner/manager team of HOG Railroad and SERCL, with many years experience in railroad operations and railcar repair, recognized a demand for railcar repair and a shortage of repair facilities in the Southeast. SERCL contracts with major railroads to provide maintenance, cleaning and repairs. In addition, SERCL has partnered with South Georgia Technical College to develop curriculum to support training for qualified railcar repair specialists. In order to meet demand and perform work in a timely manner, SERCL is expanding facilities to provide capacity to repair multiple box cars simultaneously under one roof as well as constructing a paint booth for painting rail cars. Total project cost includes $1,008,825 in private investment and local investment of $130,000.

§ Total Project Cost: $1,538,825 § Create 50 new jobs within 2 years

Meriwether County –Water Infrastructure Improvements

The Equity grant funds will be used to extend a water line from the City of Hogansville in Troup County in support of the 900-acre Meriwether Park that will provide a stable & sufficient water supply to companies locating inside the park. Meriwether Park, located off I-85 on GA Hwy 54, is a public-private partnership with Greenbow, LLC to be developed as a progressive, mixed use planned community for industrial and commercial development. Greenbow is developing a landfill at Meriwether Park to handle solid waste for the county as well as provide a recycling center. The County committed $13 million for public road improvements and infrastructure. The County drilled for water at the park site in June 2008 and found that the wells did not provide sufficient water making it necessary to purchase water from the City of Hogansville to serve the Park. Equity funds are needed to construct a water main from Hogansville to the Park and into its interior, fire hydrants, and a booster pump station. The City of Hogansville, Troup County and Meriwether County have entered into an intergovernmental services agreement for maintenance and operation of the system. Local investment includes $13 million and an application as been made for $500,000 from EIP.

§ Total Project Cost: $ 14,000,000

Elbert County –Market Feasibility Study

The Equity grant funds will be used to conduct a feasibility study to determine the best use of the historic, famous Elberton “blue” granite National Guard Armory Auditorium located in downtown Elberton. This 1941 building has undergone stabilization including the roof, windows and gutters identified as Phase I using proceeds from a federal DOT TE grant. Phase II is currently underway and includes the restoration of the utilities infrastructure. Phase III will include redeveloping the main auditorium, stage and top story offices. Lastly, Phase IV will include the development of a military museum on the ground floor. The purpose of the feasibility study is to determine levels of support for the proposed facility as a conference center on the main floor with the top floor dedicated to office space.

§ Total Project Cost: $28,000

City of Glenwood – Sewer Infrastructure

The Equity grant funds will be used to assist with upgrading the City’s sanitary sewer system. The City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is out of compliance and the EPD has issued two Consent Orders to the City. Two of Wheeler County’s top five employers are threatened by these wastewater issues which include Lower Oconee Regional Hospital and Accord Nursing Center. These two facilities provide 93 full-time jobs with 51 percent low to moderate income residents. The recent closing of the hospital in Telfair County has made the Lower Oconee Regional Hospital even more vital to this economically distressed region. Other project costs include a grant of $2,856,000 and loan of $1,694,000 from USDA.

Equity Grant Award: $325,000 Total Project Cost: $4,875,000 Retaining 93 jobs

Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority – Regional Tourism Development

The Equity grant funds will be used to assist with the development of a regional comprehensive marketing/tourism plan to effectively position the Hwy 27 corridor and the associated 18 counties as a travel and tourism “destination of choice.” The Hwy 27 Association was formed to promote economic development, tourism and the protection of cultural and scenic resources along US Hwy 27, which runs 352 miles along the western portion of the State. The Association’s 18 member counties seek to build on their existing tourism industry and develop additional products. The group has provided $52,000 of “in-kind” work/investment to date and recognize the value of developing key partnerships and alliances. The group has committed an additional $17,200 of the $78,000 cost from Randall & Associates. These include working with GA DOT on their plans to four-lane Hwy 27. Senator Jeff Mullis serves as honorary chair.

Equity Grant Award: $62,000 Total Project Cost: $131,627

The AIRGeorgia Fund is intended to accelerate the completion of critical airport infrastructure improvements. The two AIRGeorgia awards, totaling $2,847,086, are leveraged against more than $4.9 million in total project costs.

Quitman-Brooks County Airport Authority – Level I Airport – Runway Extension

AIRGeorgia grant funds will be used to assist with the acquisition of 16 acres of land and site preparation, construction, lighting and engineering costs to extend the existing 3,600 ft Runway 9/27 to 5,000 ft. Applicant states that the Airport is currently unable to service local and prospective businesses due to its inadequate runway length. Numerous letters were included citing the inadequacy of the airport to accommodate traffic in the industrial, commercial and tourism sectors. The increased traffic will also support the development of other services such as hangar rentals and fuel sales that are currently unavailable. Local businesses have committed to using the Airport, pending runway extension, as well as two local Plantations who currently use airports in nearby communities for their transportation needs. All other funding sources are committed.

AIRGeorgia Grant Award: $661,104 (41 percent of total project cost) Federal Investment: $726,000 (45 percent of total project cost) Local Investment: $220,368 (14 percent of total project cost) Other State Investment: $13,464 (1 percent of total project cost) Total Project Cost: $1,620,936

Meriwether County – Level I Airport – Runway Extension

AIRGeorgia grant funds will be used to assist with the extension of the 3,000 ft runway to 5,000 ft, and rehabilitate and overlay the existing runway. With five industrial parks within 20 miles of the airport, the ramping up of the KIA project and location decisions by key suppliers such as Dongwon, along with the success of the tourism industry in Warm Springs, it is critical to have the capacity to land business aircraft and corporate jets in this region of Georgia. The expansion will also strengthen the competiveness of neighboring Spalding, Pike and Talbot Counties. The airport extension is the first of a series of proposed airport improvements that include a new t-hangar, new apron, expansion of existing aircraft parking apron, planned future corporate hangars, new modern terminal building, and safety and security upgrades. The County recognizes that their ability to compete globally hinges in part on their capacity to land corporate clients, prospects, tourists and other visitors at the local level.

AIRGeorgia Grant Award: $2,185,982 (66 percent of total project cost) Federal Investment: $423,402 (13 percent of total project cost) Local Investment: $593,183 (18 percent of total project cost) Other State Investment: $100,000 (3 percent of total project cost) Total Project Cost: $3,302,567

Governor Perdue and the board recognized the most recent recipient of technology grants from the BRIDGE (Broadband Rural Initiative to Develop Georgia’s Economy) Fund. The award recipient is:

Development Authority of Lumpkin County

BRIDGE grant funds will be used to assist a regional partnership in evaluating the feasibility and economic impact potential of extending fiber optic broadband from Forsyth County to Lumpkin, Dawson, White and Union counties. The evaluation includes completion of Georgia Tech’s TechSmart Program as well as a detailed engineering and system design plan. The regional partnership believes that the “North Georgia Network” (NGN – pronounced “Engine”) has the potential to create a new technology-based economy for the North Georgia Region. Initial activities will evaluate high speed connectivity, network redundancy and multiple carrier criteria deemed critical for existing and prospective technology-based companies. Subsequent activities will include design, engineering and business modeling to test the feasibility of building and operating a North Georgia fiber optic network.

BRIDGE Grant Award: $192,000 Total Project Cost: $240,000

The board reviewed the latest ESB Loan Fund Guarantee recipient. The Entrepreneur-Small Business Loan Guarantee Program was created over two years ago to support the growth of entrepreneurs and small businesses in less developed areas. The ESB Loan Guarantee Program is the Authority’s first public-private partnership, providing a shared risk with Georgia lending institutions for loans ranging from $35,000 to $250,000.

Southern Fine Edibles, LLC /United National Bank (Cairo)

Southern Fine Edibles, LLC, dba/Big Jack’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant is a new restaurant located in Newton/Baker County, GA. Big Jack’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant plans to serve the best catfish around while supplementing the menu with current operator, Josh Griffin’s, specialty BBQ. The loan proceeds will be used to purchase land, building and working capital. The business currently employs 2 and will create 6 additional jobs.

ESB Loan Guarantee Amount: $76,000 Total Loan Amount: $152,000 Borrower’s Equity: $69,000 Current jobs: 2 Proposed new jobs to be created: 6

The board received an update from Ken Stewart, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, on the department’s community-based Entrepreneur Friendly program. Walker, Lamar, Treutlen, Murray, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Thomas, Dade, Peach, Lanier, Chattooga, Bleckley, Marion, Dooly, Clay, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart and Johnson counties were recognized as the most recent communities to earn the Entrepreneurial Friendly designation. To date, 129 communities have earned this designation. Once a community has earned the Entrepreneur Friendly designation, it has the opportunity to apply for an entrepreneur and small business implementation grant of up to $25,000. At today’s meeting, grants from the Entrepreneur Friendly Implementation Fund (EFIF) were awarded to: Berrien County $13,475; Bacon County $1,275; Morgan County $10,200; Camden County $25,000; Glynn County $3,867; McDuffie County $5,900; Haralson County $23,464; Brantley County $2,200; Bryan County $25,000 and Hart County $5,500. The grant program is funded by the OneGeorgia Authority and is only available to communities who have successfully earned the designation “Entrepreneur Friendly.”

Governor Perdue and the board recognized the recipient of a research grant provided under the Centers of Innovation program. The Centers of Innovation program, funded by the OneGeorgia Authority, connects world-class researchers at Georgia’s educational institutions with entrepreneurs and existing businesses and entrepreneurs to foster growth within targeted business sectors. Research grants are available to fuel applied research and development to assist companies in bringing new products and services on-line with the ultimate goal of diversifying rural Georgia’s economy through new jobs and capital investment.

Recipient: University of Georgia – Industry partner: Deep Organic, LLC – $100,000

Project Description: Laboratory and Pilot Scale Production and Evaluation of Organic Grain Milk Products

To develop a grain product with improved taste to address the US “Billion Dollar” non-Dairy milk market. The current milk alternatives have poor taste and poor products inhibiting market size & growth

The OneGeorgia Authority was created utilizing one-third of the state’s tobacco settlement to assist the state’s most economically challenged areas. The OneGeorgia Authority is expected to receive about $1.6 billion over the 25-year term of the settlement.