Houston County Commissioners approved appropriating $500,000 at a Monday meeting to assist in purchasing a strategic industrial site at an undisclosed location with the state and city of Dothan. 

Matt Parker, president of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, said at a commission meeting on Monday he was “excited about what this could be and do for our area.” 

The project, if approved by the state for funding, would involve a 57%/43% match between the state and local governments. 

“We wanted to partner with our Industrial Development Board, the county, and the city to secure a 400-plus acre track of property,” Parker said at the meeting. “We’re in a good position to do that. What we’re doing is requesting $500,000 from the county, paid over a 10-year period and financing that purchase. The state will fund 57% of that. Of course, the city will also participate in that. It puts us in an opportunity that we really haven’t had to compete with some larger projects just because we don’t control a large site with good infrastructure. It’s going to put us at a level we’ve never been at. I’d say it’s a legacy project to be able to secure this kind of property and have this kind of infrastructure in place and really put us in some key searches that right now we’re not in. We’re excited about this opportunity (and) what it does. The state is excited about it. Again, it is strategic industrial sites. It’s not 25 acres. It’s not 50. It’s the big stuff for larger projects. EV plants potentially, major food production operations…it puts us at a level that we’ve never had an opportunity to go.”

The possible project is part of legislation passed in 2023 that allocated more funding toward developing industrial sites across Alabama.  

The State of Alabama began accepting applications from local economic development authorities in October to request funding for industrial site development in their communities. 

The legislation was passed into law in the 2023 session, granting additional powers so that the Site Industrial Development Authority (SIDA) may issue site assessment grants and site development grants to increase the quality and quantity of industrial sites in Alabama.

The Site Evaluation Economic Development Strategy (SEEDS) Act authorized the State Industrial Development Authority (SIDA) to make site assessments and site development grants. SIDA has contracted with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to administer the grant programs. $40m has been appropriated to SIDA for the SEEDS program.

Applications for the funding close on December 15. The funding is scheduled to be approved in the last week of February 2024 at a to-be-determined date.

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