Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.6 million grant to Clarke County, Alabama to make infrastructure improvements at North Clark Industrial Park needed to support a new lumber mill operation. The EDA grant, to be matched with $1.1 million in local funds, is expected to help create 125 jobs and generate more than $188 million in private investment.
“President Trump is committed to supporting the forest products industry and continues to create initiatives that benefit local economies that rely on this trade,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “With the help of these infrastructure improvements, the new lumber mill in Clarke County will further develop the region’s critical wood products sector.”
“The benefits of this project will be evident in all aspects of wood processing, from logging to production facilities,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “The private investment generated by the industrial park’s improvements will have a positive impact on Clarke County’s economy.”
“I’m thrilled to see this large investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce coming to Clarke County,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Timber is a vital segment of Alabama’s economy and this new mill will be a celebrated addition. Adding 125 jobs in rural Alabama will transform not only the community but the entire region. We are extremely appreciative to Secretary Ross and the Department’s Economic Development Administration for supporting our state.”
“I am proud that this federal grant for Clarke County will allow for improvements to the North Clark Industrial Park, which will in turn provide needed support for the new lumber mill operation and help create 125 new jobs,” said Senator Shelby. “I am grateful to Secretary Ross and EDA for investing in Alabama’s infrastructure and look forward to the growth and economic success this project will bring to the region.”
“This is great news for the Clarke County community,” said Senator Jones. “This grant will not only prove to be critical for infrastructure surrounding the wood products production, but will also drive investment back into the local economy through the creation of new jobs and private investment opportunities.”
“This grant to support Clarke County’s forest products industry will be a significant boost to the region’s economy and job prospects,” said Rep. Byrne (AL-01). “I thank President Trump and his Administration for making this project possible and for their continued commitment to improving the lives of rural Alabamians.”
“Job growth and creation are necessary to ensuring the economic and social vitality of Clarke County and the surrounding areas,” said Rep. Sewell (AL-07). “I am pleased that this substantial investment in the people of Clarke County is taking a comprehensive approach, both yielding more jobs and ensuring reliable infrastructure to support those jobs.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission (ATRC). EDA funds the ATRC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.