State awards $750,000 grant to benefit Aspen Power

AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - AUSTIN —The Texas Department of Agriculture today announced it has awarded $750,000 to the City of Lufkin for road, parking, engineering and administrative services to benefit Aspen Power, LLC and Angelina Fuels, LLC. The  Texas Capital Fund award, presented to support biomass electric power plant facilities, will create a total of 70 full-time jobs as well as retain 30 full-time jobs for the community. Aspen Power and Angelina Fuels will also invest an additional $103 million in the biomass project, which will help diversify energy sources in the state.

"This money will change lives in East Texas as it will create quality jobs based on our largest, renewable, natural resource," Lufkin Mayor Jack Gorden said. "Green jobs of the future are in Lufkin, Texas now."

"The Texas Capital Fund is a smart investment that rejuvenates the economies of Texas communities," Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. "This award will help enhance economic development in Lufkin, proving that great things are possible when Texans partner with Texans."

The Texas Capital Fund, part of the federal Community Development Block Grant program, provides more than $10 million for competitive awards each year to boost economic development in small Texas communities. Administered in cooperation with the Texas Department of Rural Affairs, the program is housed under TDA's Rural Economic Development division.

State legislators agree the Texas Capital Fund offers immediate and long-term benefits.

"Congratulations to the city of Lufkin on securing such a significant award," Sen. Robert Nichols said. "This funding will help boost the East Texas economy today and provide an investment for growth."

"This Capital Fund grant will stimulate economic development through employment opportunities and ultimately offer East Texans affordable and renewable electric power – a win-win for everyone ," Rep. Jim McReynolds said. "Congratulations go out to our community for obtaining this generous grant from TDA and our Commissioner Todd Staples, a long-time friend to East Texas."

The Texas Capital Fund provides funding for projects under four different programs: Infrastructure Development, Real Estate Development, Main Street Improvements and Downtown Revitalization.

Infrastructure Development awards may be used for projects that include water and sewer lines, road improvements, fiber optic lines and railroad spurs. Real Estate Development awards may be used to acquire, construct or rehabilitate buildings. Main Street Improvements and Downtown Revitalization programs provide grants to non-entitlement cities for the purpose of renovating or constructing sidewalks, lighting, drainage and other infrastructure elements in downtown areas.

For more information about the Texas Capital Fund, contact the TDA Rural Economic Development division at finance@TexasAgriculture.gov or call the toll-free Rural Assistance line at (877) 428-7848.