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The City of Bristol has been falling behind in the ability to competitively attract and retain jobs. During 2016, Sullivan County lost 649 jobs due to several business closures. Although there has been some success in attracting new jobs, the jobs created have not equaled those that have been lost, especially in the manufacturing sector. One major obstacle that the City has faced in successfully creating and retaining jobs is the lack of adequate critical infrastructure to support industrial needs. Antiquated water and wastewater infrastructure has resulted in immediate concerns that critical infrastructure would not meet demand from expanding or incoming industries. With the planned expansion of Royal Building Products, a global export company, the City had to move quickly to ensure that infrastructure capacity met the needs of the company in order to improve and increase its manufacturing capabilities.
In May 2016, EDA invested $1.5 million in Public Works funds to assist the City of Bristol with upgrades to sewer and water infrastructure to support the expansion of Royal Building Products’ state-of-the art facility, allowing for increased export capacity for Bristol, and the expansion of any future businesses.
The expansion of Royal Building Products is estimated to create 300 new jobs, save 100 jobs and leverage $48,500,000 in private investment. With the growth of Royal Building Products, exports to Canada and other countries could grow from the current number of $5 million to $15 million over the next few years. In addition to supporting the export capacity of Bristol, the improvements will provide the necessary sewer and water infrastructure to support employment opportunities for the region, making it more competitive to attract new job opportunities.