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Ivey thrilled Pike County received grant to build infrastructure for new Rex Lumber sawmill


The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced that it is awarding a $500,000 grant to Pike County, Alabama, to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to support the growth of manufacturing businesses in the region, including a major lumber manufacturing facility.

This EDA grant will be matched with $500,000 in state of Alabama investment. The combined one million in government grants is expected to attract $110 million in private investment and create 110 jobs.

Gov. Kay Ivey said on social media, “I’m thrilled the @US_EDA has awarded $500,000 to Pike County to build the infrastructure needed for @Rex_Lumber’s new sawmill, which will create 110 jobs. This grant is not only going to support them, but it’s also going to bolster this region’s growing forest products industry!”

“Helping our communities implement their plans to provide the vital infrastructure that businesses need to be successful is a top priority for President Trump,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fleming. “This EDA investment will help build necessary road infrastructure needed to serve Pike County’s manufacturing industry and accommodate its future growth.”

This project will help to resurface approximately four miles of County Road 7714 from CR-7724 north to CR-7707. The structural improvements to County Road 7714 will make it more resilient to the heavy traffic that is expected from logging trucks.

“Rex Lumber’s new Alabama lumber manufacturing facility will not only bring high-quality jobs but will also create substantial economic benefits for the industry in the Pike County area,” Ivey said when the company made the announcement. “We’re thrilled that the company selected Alabama for this project, and we’re committed to helping this new operation succeed and thrive for years to come.”

“Our fourth-generation family owned business is looking forward to a long and prosperous future in Pike County and the great state of Alabama,” said Caroline Dauzat, one of the company’s owners.

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Rex Lumber was founded in the 1920s by W.D. McRae.  The company continues to be owned and operated by the Finley McRae family of Graceville, Florida. The company ranks among the 10 largest softwood lumber producers in the United States.

“This new lumber manufacturing operation will create quality employment opportunities, a significant new timber market, and enhanced economic activity in the region,” said Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.  “Rex Lumber is a proven operator with an excellent track record in the forest products industry, and will be a great addition to Alabama’s business community.”

“The addition of the Rex Lumber Company manufacturing facility will generate a significant economic boost for Pike County and the surrounding area,” Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter. “Every one high-paying primary job creates an estimated 2.5 secondary/service jobs, which results in more folks employed and spending money in and around Pike County.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Central Alabama Development Commission. EDA funds the South Central Alabama Development Commission to help bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is being funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Congress appropriated $600 million to EDA for additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.

EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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