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City awarded $2M grant for rail spur

Grant to begin completion of railroad spur for Coastal Growers LLC

The city of Atmore was awarded a $2 million grant by the United States Economic Development Administration for the completion of a railroad spur in the industrial park that will serve the Coastal Growers LLC peanut shelling facility, according to officials.

“We appreciate the EDA very much for supporting our project,” said Atmore Mayor Jim Staff in a release. “This is an important project for the city of Atmore and the farmers of our area, and we’re thankful for this help and ready to get started.”

The project is a combination of $2 million in federal funds, $300,000 in state funds and $200,000 in local funds. A rail spur will be constructed from the CSX main line into the industrial park, where it will initially serve the Coastal Growers facility. Future development could see other tenants utilize the spur, as well.

“We are really happy to see the city of Atmore receive this grant,” said Dirk Lindsey, Coastal Growers CEO. “This is going to be vital to our business and a big help to the city of Atmore. We thank everyone who had anything to do with getting this grant.”

Coastal Growers ships much of its product by rail to customers in the candy and peanut butter business, among other end users. Lindsey said the presence of the CSX main line was a major factor in attracting Coastal Growers to Atmore.

The Atmore Industrial Park, which still contains available tracts of industrial property, can now be considered rail-served, which will increase its marketability, said Jess Nicholas, CEO of Centerfire Economic and executive director of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority.

“As important as this is to Coastal Growers, what it means for the future of the industrial park cannot be overlooked,” Nicholas said. “There aren’t many fully rail-served industrial parks in our area, and this is a huge win for Atmore and Escambia County as a whole.”

In addition to Atmore’s grant, the city of Eufaula also received a $2 million EDA grant for sewer system improvements, including some to support the growth of a local manufacturer of PPE equipment.

“President (Joe) Biden is committed to making sure the United States once again leads the world across the board in infrastructure,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These EDA investments will allow the cities of Atmore and Eufaula to obtain the modern and sustainable infrastructure they need to support business and create well-paying jobs for local citizens.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-developed strategies designed to create economic opportunity,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “EDA is pleased to assist Atmore and Eufaula in their work to provide the infrastructure that their businesses need to grow and thrive.”

“In my conversations with Alabamians, the need for infrastructure repairs and expansion nearly always comes up when talking about attracting new economic opportunities,” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville. “The EDA funds going toward infrastructure projects to complement these two new job-creating businesses will strengthen the Atmore and Eufaula communities and make them better places to live, work and raise a family.”