Authority receives OneGeorgia grant

Published 6:20 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gov. Sonny Perdue is scheduled to announce today a $400,678 grant to the Bainbridge-Decatur County Development Authority.

The OneGeorgia grant will be used to install a heavy-duty water system that will assist Meredian, as well as Shaw and other future industries, said Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Development Authority.

The awards will be announced in Dublin, Ga., by Perdue.

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McCaskill said the grant is part of a $34 million project that included the lease-to-purchase agreement with the Development Authority and Meredian, which agreed in May 2009 to locate its operations in the old American Fibers and Yarns building at the Decatur County Industrial Park on U.S. 27 North.

Meredian is a sister company to DaniMer, both of which are world leaders in the innovation and manufacturing of biopolymers.

Both companies produce biopolymers—smaller than BB-sized pellets—that are biodegradable and petroleum-free materials used by other companies to manufacture coatings, wrappings and other products.

According to the grant application completed by Bob Roberson and Associates Inc., the $400,678 will be broken down as per the following: $201,225 for the water infrastructure improvements, which include 8-inch water mains; $163,028 for street improvements, and $36,425 for engineering.

The county’s contribution equals $1,729,717, which includes $1.5 million for buying the old American Fibers and Yarns building; $208,842 for street improvements that the county is likely to complete or has completed, and $20,875 for engineering.

The remaining balance of the $34 million project is from Meredian’s purchase of machinery, capital start-up costs and other operating capital costs, the grant application said.

The urgency of the water infrastructure became more critical this year due to Propex announcing it was shutting down its plant in October. Propex, and its current holding company, had owned the water supply and fire protection system of the building in which Meredian is located.

Propex had informed the Development Authority that it must pay $10,000 a month for use of the main entrance, parking facilities and security. In addition, Propex said that a monthly fee of $3,800 would be required for use of the water supply and fire protection system.

“It is important to note that the Authority was not aware that these cost prohibitive fees would be imposed at the time the Authority acquired the former American Fibers and Yarns facility,” the grant application stated.