Grant & Loan Awards: Walton County
EDGE grant funds of $500,000 to assist with the purchase of machinery and equipment to outfit a new distribution facility in support of General Mills Operations, LLC (GMO). GMO is a subsidiary of General Mills, Inc. (GMI), a Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s premier consumer foods companies with products in over 100 countries around the world. With a current manufacturing facility in Covington, Newton County, Georgia since 1989, the Company seeks to expand in the southeastern region of the U.S. by constructing a regional distribution center. General Mills plans to construct a 1.5 million square-foot LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) facility on 130 acres that will be one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. Some of General Mills’ more notable products and brands include: Cheerios, Wheaties, Yoplait, Hamburger Helper, Green Giant, Betty Crocker and the most recognized icon of GMI – the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
Equity funds to support road improvements to serve Stanton Springs, a 1,500-acre technology park located at the junction of Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties on I-20 and Highway 278. Specifically, funds will be used to pave a .8 mile four-lane road in order to see and promote interior sites within the park. Stanton Springs is a great example of public-private partnership involving four counties with a private partner, Technology Park/Atlanta, Inc. (TPA). Morgan, Newton, and Walton Counties have land within the development area. Jasper Co. will contribute 10% of costs toward development even though the county will not own land within the development. All four counties will share costs/revenues according to an intergovernmental agreement. TPA is a private developer experienced in the planning and development of similar projects including Johns Creek Mixed Use Park. The application anticipates that within two years, 700 will be employed at Stanton Springs. Within five years, 3,100 will be employed. At full build-out, the project will be able to support 20,000 workers.
Equity funds to assist with the construction of the Blue Willow Village, a retail development that will feature 10-12 specialty stores and restaurants featuring regional artisans and entrepreneurs. The Blue Willow Inn, which is already operating on the proposed developmentâ€™s site, opened in 1991 and is often featured in Southern tourist and restaurant publications. The anchor tenant of the Village will be a 10,000 SF museum of natural history. There is approximately $1,000,000 of new private investment in this project. Some 250,000 visitors from all over the world come to the restaurant annually. Projections for the Blue Willow Village call for an additional 150,000 tourists to visit the region each year spending in excess of $14 million. This increase in tourism will result in 90 indirect jobs.