MONTGOMERY— A $400,000 grant awarded by Gov. Kay Ivey will help bring new jobs to Clarke County while giving a boost to the forest industry in southwest Alabama.
The Community Development Block Grant will provide the infrastructure necessary for Westervelt Co. to construct a sawmill at North Clarke Industrial Park near Thomasville. The mill will employ 125 people.
“Alabama’s timber industry is certainly on the rise. The building of the Westervelt mill in Thomasville only further proves that,” Ivey said. “I am excited to know that this plant will provide new job opportunities at the mill and throughout southwest Alabama.”
CDBG funds will be used to supply water and sewer services to the plant that, once completed, will produce 250 million board feet of pine lumber annually. Eighteen fire hydrants will also be installed to meet fire suppression needs.
The Tuscaloosa-based Westervelt is expected to invest $190 million in the Clarke County project which will be its second lumber mill in Alabama. Westervelt offers its products in the United States and internationally.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Governor Ivey is committed to encouraging new jobs in Alabama and helping the state grow and prosper,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join Governor Ivey in assisting with the infrastructure needed for this project.”
ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.
Ivey notified Jackie Ray Rush, chairman of the Clarke County Commission, that the grant had been approved. The county is supplying $217,064 in additional funds for the project.