• 54°

Industrial park rail spur grant approved

A long-awaited economic development grant was approved for the City of Troy Tuesday.

The $150,000 Community Development Block Grant for Economic Development will help the city fund the construction of a rail spur at National Warehouse, Inc. - located in Troy's industrial park.

The city had applied for the grant about two years ago, according Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.

"National Warehouse has been needing to expand but it wasn't feasible without the rail spur, and that's what we've been waiting for," she said.

"We're excited to finally get some funding on it because hopefully it will move their expansion forward."

That expansion project, at a total cost near $3.5 million is expected to create 34 new jobs, said company spokesman Wiley Locklar.

"If we do get the grant award and we're able to move ahead with the expansion project, that will help us create those jobs."

Locklar said the total expansion project would add plant infrastructure and equipment.

National Warehouse has operated in Troy since 1996. The company freezes and stores food products in its refrigerated warehouse and ships products to wholesalers, food brokers and fast food chains. It also exports frozen food products to Canada, Mexico, China and Russia. It currently has 19 full-time employees and plans to expand its 41,000 square-foot plant onto 33 acres in the industrial park under a lease agreement with the city.

"This application has been on going for some time, but the project itself has grown since our first discussions," Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said.

"I'm glad the economy is really good because the expansion will create (the additional jobs) and be about a $3.5 million expansion."

Lunsford said the city would match a portion of the grant, and National Warehouse would match a portion of the grant.

"We are determining the exact match amounts, but the grant itself is awarded to the city which will own the rail spur.

The city, Lunsford said, would see additional revenues for the expansion when it's completed through the company's increased power usage.

National Warehouse, like other companies in the industrial park, are served by Troy Utilities.

The grant was approved through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and made available based on funds provided by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

"This project will support Troy's continued growth and provide vital jobs for local works," Riley said in a prepared statement. "I am pleased to make these funds available to help the community keep this important industry and create additional employment opportunities to other residents."