Grant & Loan Awards: Sumter County
Equity funds 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.
Equity funds to assist with the replacement of the 30 year old wastewater treatment system. This replacement will help the City of Andersonville retain a major employer and support its thriving tourism industry. The failing wastewater treatment plant threatens to shutdown the Cityâ€™s sewage and water systems which would result in a loss of both Plant One, which produces aluminum silicates and the associated administrative buildings of Mullite Company of America (Mulcoa). Mulcoa mines and processes over one million tons of kaolin and bauxite ores annually. In addition, without water, the Andersonville National Historic Site and the National Prisoner of War Museum would be required to shut down. The City has been fined $600 by EPD for exceeding the permit limit. Fines of up to $50,000 a day from EPD could be levied against the City if this problem is not corrected.
Equity funds to assist with water improvements to serve ConArt, Inc., located on Hwy 280 in Cobb, Georgia. The Company, established in 1988, with a current workforce of 150, specializes in custom architectural precast cement finishes for use in residential and commercial building construction. The improvements will allow the Company to expand its existing operations, creating 40 new jobs and additional $1.2 million in private investment. ConArt currently operates wells and is non-compliant with EPD due to contaminants exceeding allowed levels as well as elevated levels of Toluene and iron deposits. The Company is considering relocating to another area if a dependable and quality water source cannot be provided. Equity grant funds will be used to assist with the installation of a 10,700 linear foot 12â€ public water line, allowing total employment at ConArt to grow to 190-200. In addition, the Company is considering adding production lines resulting in a $12 million private investment and a total of 400 jobs.
Equity funds to address the degradation of this small town's water and sewer lines which are threatening the livelihood of a regional employer as well as the tourism industry. The project includes the replacement of asbestos water lines with new C900 PVC water lines, installation of cut-off valves, and an upgrade to a sewage lift station. Windham Casting, a maker of outdoor furniture, stated that the infrastructure improvements were necessary to maintain its operations in Plains with 110 jobs. The company has committed to retain the 110 existing jobs and also to create 11 new jobs contingent upon the completion of the required infrastructure improvements. Frequent repairs to the system now result in poor water quality and pressure as well as a strong odor that negatively impacts local businesses and the Cityâ€™s tourist trade. This project will sustain an important local employer's presence while also adding economic development capacity.
ESB loan guarantee for building renovations and the purchase of equipment for CafÃ© Campesino, a 10-year old existing business in Americus. Cafe Campesino is a coffee roaster and wholesale and retail seller of coffee products. They buy raw coffee beans through a fair trade coffee cooperative, roast it on-site and sell both wholesale and retail. Cafe Campesino sells to many individuals through their website, but they also sell to a large number of restaurants in the Southeast. William Harris and Harlan Pomeroy are purchasing the business, buying new, larger roaster and expanding their facilities. Sumter Bank and Trust in Americus is the lender.
ESB loan guarantee to support Fuze Technologies, Inc. Fuze is a start up wireless broadband internet service provider offering high speed, wireless internet service in parts of Sumter County. Fuze is using the latest, fastest technology available which is faster and cheaper than the wireless services offered by cellular phone companies in the area. Targeted markets include Georgia Southwestern State University and the South Georgia Technical College as well as individuals and businesses, expecially in areas not currently served by DSL. The loan by Sumter Bank and Trust in Americus will allow the business to purchase equipment, inventory, furniture and fixtures.
Equity funds to finance a packaging system and commercial cooling equipment required to expand Americus Bean Company (ABC), a start-up company begun in 2002, creating 37 new jobs and protecting 28 existing jobs. The owners of ABC include a team of 11 successful produce growers whose families have made a living from agriculture for generations in Macon, Marion, Sumter and Schley Counties. ABC is a young business in an innovative and creative product offering that is gaining the attention of the fruit and vegetable industry. ABC is a value-added produce processing company that supplies washed, cut and packaged pod-type produce to wholesale food distributors and marketers serving the retail supermarket industry including green beans, yellow squash, zucchini squash and okra. They have developed an exclusive patent-pending process that extends the shelf life of green beans and are continuing R&D to apply this process to other vegetables as well. ABC is currently packaging produce under national trademarked brand labels.
E 9-1-1 funds to assist with the construction of a regional E 9-1-1 center, including the purchase of dispatching and radio equipment as well as parking and fencing to serve the 81,365 residents of these seven Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. The center will be centrally located in the city of Ellaville, Schley County. This will be the largest E 9-1-1 service area in Georgia, covering twenty-eight jurisdictions. Counties: Dooly, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, Webster. Total Residents: 81,365
Equity funds to purchase an extensive collection of artifacts dating from the 1860's,known collectively as The Drummer Boy Museum. The private collection, often the first stop for tourists visiting Andersonville, anchors 10 other tourist-related businesses. Public ownership and maintenance of the collection will enhance the already strong economic impact of tourism to the region. The application received strong support from neighboring cities and counties for its historic importance as well as the opportunities for regional economic impact through tourism development.
EDGE funds to purchase a CYSCO 6490 switch. The switch must be purchased and installed in order for STI Knowledge to communicate with customers in which it serves. The entire project, which will create 150 new full-time jobs with over $7 million in capital investment, is driven by the latest communication and computer technology.
Equity funds for renovation of two adjoining buildings in downtown Plains. Buildings to be developed into an inn, antiques mall and museum. Development will strengthen existing tourism in former President Carter's hometown of Plains.
Equity funds to assist with construction of pedestrian platforms along 42-mile route of the planned Southwest GA Excursion Train. Train will stop at 8 area attractions in the region including former President Carter's boyhood home.
Equity funds for replacement of storm sewers, street improvements, new streetlights, new sidewalks and underground placement of power lines in support of Habitat for Humanity International's Global Village and Museum project.