Grant to fund industrial construction on industrial park

By Jeff Awtrey - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A $4 million federal grant awarded to the City of Lufkin will be used to construct an industrial park near the east loop, according to Mayor Jack Gorden.

The city bought the water rights from Abitibi in 2008. The land was purchased from multiple owners.

Gorden said the city already has one interested party as part of the deal and architectural plans are already drawn up.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the grant today in a press release.

Gorden said the site is ideal for any industry that uses a large amount of water, raw and treated and large amounts of electricity and gas.

"This site is unlike any other in East Texas with the water rights we have," Gorden said.

Gorden said if the interested company decides to move in to the site, they will expect to add 175 jobs to the workforce.

According to an e-mail from the city's economic development Director Jim Weihmeier, the interested company would only occupy 10 acres of the land, leaving potential for hundreds of more jobs, should any other companies move in.

"The Obama Administration is committed to creating jobs, encouraging innovation and improving our nation's economic competitiveness," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stated. "This EDA grant will help Lufkin develop an industrial site that will bring new businesses and jobs to the region in the wake of Hurricane Ike."

Wehmeier said the grant funding will cover pre-development services for the industrial park, including drainage and storm-water development, site balancing and entrances into the site with monument signs at both entrances.

The grant also will cover the re-building of Old Moffett Road, with heavy truck standards.

Wehmeier said the grant will "essentially make the industrial park shovel-ready, saving prospects tens of thousands of dollars and weeks to months of development time."

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