Lowndes County supervisors unanimously approved more than $1.7 million in grants and loans for a company to build a $7.5 million new facility on the Steel Dynamics, Inc. campus at the industrial park west of Columbus.
Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said the facility, codenamed Project Garage, will need $750,000 in Development Infrastructure Program grants from the Mississippi Development Authority for road improvements. The project also requires up to $1 million in a state loan to pay for a rail spur from the railway near SDI’s campus to the new facility.
“They need to ship out product by rail,” Higgins said. “And there needs to be an improved road to where they can do truck deliveries out as well.
“The steel’s made on campus, so it’s just taken up there and processed,” he added. “But then it will go out by train to those customers who want train delivery or by truck for those of them who want trucking.”
Higgins said the funds require county approval because the money will flow through from the state through the county to the new company. The company will be responsible for repaying the loans and the 10 percent match on the DIP grant.
Higgins declined to identify the new company, saying Lowndes County was in competition with another location for the spot, and that location has not yet been notified of the company’s decision to locate on SDI’s campus. However, he said the new facility will process SDI’s steel.
“It’ll basically take steel that SDI makes and further process it into what I understand is a consumer product,” Higgins said. “It’s about a $7.5 million investment that’ll create 50 jobs, and I think that’s (the job count) a conservative number — I think it could go higher.”
Higgins further noted that the new development is thanks to a $100 million paint facility at Steel Dynamics that is scheduled for a ribbon cutting at the end of the month.
“It’s not a Steel Dynamics project, but it’s a result of Steel Dynamics being here,” Higgins said. “Quite frankly, it’s a result of the new paint line that they’re fixing to put online. This is probably the first new business that you can directly attribute to the new paint line.”
Lowndes County Board of Supervisors President Harry Sanders said he was happy to support the development and to see continued economic growth in Lowndes County.
“This is another feather in Lowndes County’s hat,” Sanders said. “They had the opportunity to put this location somewhere else but they chose us.
“That’s 50 jobs minimum and that certainly helps the local economy,” he added. “We’re real proud that our work environment is such that people want to come here.”
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.