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Ivey announces $250,000 ARC grant for Valley

MONTGOMERY— Gov. Kay Ivey has announced a $250,000 grant to further assist helping a new industry locate in the city of Valley, which will create more than 500 new jobs.

The funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission will be combined with a Community Development Block Grant, awarded by Ivey in August, to provide infrastructure necessary for John Soules Foods to locate in the former West Point Home building.

John Soules Foods, which will initially hire 150 employees, produces, processes and distributes pre-cooked, ready-to-eat foods for grocery stores, restaurants and food-service companies throughout the United States. The Valley plant, which will open in late 2020, will undergo a $70 million investment in refurbishing the building to meet its needs.

“Bringing new industry and employment opportunities to Alabama is a priority of my administration, and I am pleased to announce these opportunities in Valley,” Ivey said. “Alabama’s partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission is tried and true and continues to pay dividends for our residents and communities.”

ARC funds will be combined with a $500,000 CDBG to supply water and sewer services to the 266,000-square-foot plant.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers both the ARC and CDBG programs in Alabama.

“The combination of CDBG and ARC funds help communities accomplish major projects,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “I am pleased to join with Gov. Ivey and our federal and local partners to improve lives.”

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 counties in Alabama are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds.

ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.

Valley Mayor Leonard Riley welcomed the news. “This grant money was very much needed for this project,” he said. “It will enable us to have the sewer lines needed by this new plant. We will be meeting very soon to discuss getting started.”

The East Alabama Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District will be bidding out the work that needs to be done.  The new sewer lines are needed to handle the large wastewater discharges the plant will have, mostly in the late-night hours.

Production will begin in the fourth quarter of 2020 when the first of three lines goes into operation. Approximately 150 people will be employed at that time. Two more lines will be added over the next couple of years, boosting employment at the plant to more than 500 people.