|Gov. Ivey announces grant to help create new jobs in Bibb County|
MONTGOMERY— Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that the town of West Blocton is receiving a $1.2 million grant to help create more than 250 new jobs in Bibb County.
The town will use the Appalachian Regional Commission funds to provide sewage improvements necessary for Mercedes-Benz U.S. International to construct a battery plant at the Scott G. Davis Industrial Park.
The plant will employ 265 people when it opens, and projections are that as many as 600 people could be employed there within five years.
“Alabama’s automobile manufacturing plants continue to grow and expand, providing high quality, high-paying jobs for our residents,” Ivey said. “I salute Mercedes-Benz for opening the door to the automobile manufacturing industry in our state and for continuing to demonstrate that some of the finest vehicles in the world are produced in Alabama.”
Mercedes is planning a $1 billion expansion of both its main plant in Tuscaloosa County and its Bibb County complex in part to support plans to produce an electric vehicle.
The ARC funds will enable the town of Woodstock, where the Mercedes battery plant will be located, to improve its sewage collection system while West Blocton will upgrade its wastewater facility which takes in and treats sewage from the industrial park. Ivey previously awarded a $514,606 Community Development Block Grant to West Blocton for the sewer project. The governor also awarded CDBG funds of $270,360 to the Bibb County Commission to supply water to the new plant.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers both the ARC and CDBG programs in Alabama.
“Gov. Ivey is committed to providing new jobs to Alabama and helping our state prosper,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA joins her in support of this project and the impact it will have on the region.”
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The agency’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. Thirty-seven Alabama counties, including Bibb County, are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds.
ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.
Bibb County Commission Chairman Rodney Stabler told the Bibb Voice that the improvements will be to the West Blocton sewage system which serves the Bibb County industrial park at Woodstock. Commissioner Stabler also said that additional ALDOT grant funding will soon be announced for road improvements to the industrial park entrance, another boost to industrial development for Bibb County.