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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Provide Critical Water Infrastructure at Sawmill Site in Abbeville Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.7 million grant to the city of Abbeville, Alabama, to help construct critical wastewater infrastructure improvements needed to serve a local sawmill site and commercial development adjacent to the site. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $425,000 in local funds and is expected to help create 105 jobs and generate $32 million in private investment.

“President Trump has consistently highlighted the urgent need to rebuild our country’s deteriorating infrastructure especially in opportunity zones like Abbeville,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will bring new business and jobs to the region, as well as attract additional investments.”

“In Alabama, our sights are always set high, and that means there is a strong focus on making improvements across the state, from our big cities to our most rural communities,” said Governor Ivey. “Certainly, enhancing infrastructure is a critical component for future growth. I am proud that the U.S. Department of Commerce and Secretary Wilbur Ross selected the city of Abbeville to receive this $1.7 million grant. The Trump Administration clearly understands that infrastructure must be a priority to foster a thriving economy, and I am proud to support those efforts.”

“This project combined with the new sawmill site in Abbeville will bring numerous jobs and boost economic development throughout Henry County,” said Senator Shelby. “I am grateful EDA recognized the need for this funding and am confident that the critical infrastructure improvements enabled by this grant will significantly impact the Abbeville community for years to come.”

“This $1.7 million grant for Abbeville will support much-needed improvements to the community’s wastewater infrastructure, which is an issue I have worked on consistently over the past year and a half,” said Senator Doug Jones. “This investment will also help create over 100 jobs and generate millions in private investment, bringing further employment, economic and growth opportunities to the community.”

“Having reliable infrastructure in our communities is fundamental,” said Rep. Roby. “I am pleased that the EDA has made this significant investment in our state, and I look forward to seeing the growth and progress it will bring.”

This investment will help construct water infrastructure for potable use and fire suppression at a new sawmill as well as at the region’s forest and wood products industry cluster. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission. EDA funds the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission to help bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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