Plainview and Hale County recieve $1 million grant

Staff Writer

The City of Plainview and Hale County have jointly been granted $1,000,000 from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the U.S. Department of Commerce to support the construction of a new Business Park to be located north of Highway 194 (Dimmitt Highway) and west of Interstate 27.

After the closure of the Cargill beef packing plant in Plainview in February 2013, community leaders met to prioritize what steps would be necessary to recover from the loss of this major employer. The plant closure was the result of a drought that caused cattle shortages in the region.

The City working with South Plains College was able to obtain $475,000 from EDA to assist SPC in the construction of the Plainview Technology Center. This new facility expanded the college’s capacity to providing training in industrial manufacturing, welding and construction trades. In addition, the facility provided training opportunities for workers displaced by the closing of the Cargill plant.

The City, County and EDC began discussions to develop a community-owned business park in an effort to diversify the local and regional economy. With the assistance of EDA, the City and County will be able to complete this project sooner than expected.

The City, Hale County and EDC hosted a special reception welcoming EDA to Plainview to present a check in the amount of $1.0 million for the Business Park on March 10, 2016.

“The City of Plainview is excited to be partnering with Hale County, Plainview/Hale County EDC and the EDA to construct the new business park,” said Plainview Mayor Wendell Dunlap. “This business park has been an idea for a long time, and now all the pieces of the puzzle have come together to make it happen. It truly takes a group effort in a community our size to take on this project, and we can’t thank our partners enough for their support.”

The business park to be located in Plainview will feature roads, water lines, and sewer lines in order to create tracts of land that are considered shovel ready so that any major employers interested in building can start construction right away with limited lead time required. The City and Hale County will be 50/50 partners when it comes to construction and on-going maintenance expenses for the park. A joint board will also be appointed to provide direction and guidance on the layout, construction, and future needs.

“Hale County is pleased to be partnering with the City of Plainview on this project, which will be a major recruitment tool for our area,” said County Judge Bill Coleman. “This joint business park shows how strongly we support the cities in our County, and we will look forward to seeing which businesses our Plainview/Hale County EDC is able to recruit to town in the near future. It’s great to be able to pool resources with the U.S. EDA, City, and County in order to build a long-lasting investment for our region.”

Plainview City Manager Jeffrey Snyder believes this business park is a game changer for the City of Plainview and Hale County, giving the community shovel ready land that has been missing when trying to recruit major employers to the area. “We always hear that having a business park is something every major employer relocating will look for when considering your city.” Snyder said. “We are very thankful for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s financial commitment to our community to help make this project a reality. We had a great team work on this application between the City, County, South Plains Association of Governments, and the Plainview/Hale County EDC. This strong partnership will help ensure that our business park is a success.”

With the assistance of EDA, the City, County and EDC are now able to market its workforce development program with customized training for employers as well as a business park with shovel ready sites.

“We are open for business,” said Mayor Wendell Dunlap. “We hope to see many companies exploring the opportunities we have to offer them in Plainview.”

Under the Economic Development Assistance Project program, the EDA solicits applications from applicants in rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and EAA programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities. EDA provides strategic investments on a competitive- merit-basis to support economic development, foster job creation, and attract private investment in economically distressed areas of the United States.

"EDA is pleased to be able to invest again in the Plainview community’s continuing plans to expand economic opportunity in the area,” said EDA Regional Director Jorge Ayala. The City, County, business sector and higher education have demonstrated an impressive collaboration in responding to the loss of a major employer. The resiliency and dedication of this community is a tribute to the local leadership which continues to move this community forward. This Business Park will contribute to Plainview’s continued progress in establishing itself as a great place to live and do business in the South Plains."

The City and Hale County hope to break ground this summer and the project should take approximately 9 months to complete.