Alabama awards $2.5 million grant for upgrades at Novelis site in Bay Minette

By GUY BUSBY
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/25/23

BAY MINETTE — A $2.5-million state grant will help Bay Minette and Baldwin County prepare for the construction of a new aluminum manufacturing plant.Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the …

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Alabama awards $2.5 million grant for upgrades at Novelis site in Bay Minette

Posted

BAY MINETTE — A $2.5-million state grant will help Bay Minette and Baldwin County prepare for the construction of a new aluminum manufacturing plant.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the Community Development Block grant Thursday, Jan. 12.

"This commitment from Novelis Inc. to construct a high-tech aluminum plant will have a major impact on Baldwin County and is evidence of Alabama's strong business climate and its capable workforce," Ivey said in a statement announcing the grant. "I am pleased to award these funds in support of this project which will bring hundreds of job opportunities to the area."

The plant is expected to cost $2.4 billion to build. The facility will employ up to 1,000 workers when completed, according to reports announcing the project.

Bay Minette Mayor Robert Wills said the new state grant will help the city and North Baldwin Utilities extend water and sewer lines to the site near Interstate 65.

"We're very, very pleased with this," Wills said. "It's going to be a big boost for us to get this grant to be able to apply those funds to construct that type of infrastructure, the utilities."

Wills said the city will receive the grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and turn the funds over to North Baldwin Utilities to perform the work.

"It's kind of a coordinated effort," Wills said. "It's really going to be the North Baldwin Utilities that's going to run the water, the sewer and that kind of stuff. But the grant comes through the city, so we work in conjunction with them, and they're going to be providing the in-kind labor and materials and equipment and all along with the grant to get those utilities out to the Novelis site."

The city and NBU will also provide $650,000 in labor and equipment for the utility extensions.

"Projects like this do not just happen on their own. They take a lot of teamwork and cooperation by local leaders who work tirelessly to put all the pieces in place," ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. "ADECA is pleased to join Gov. Ivey in being part of this project which will provide many benefits to Bay Minette, Baldwin County and the entire region."

Wills said Boswell worked with the city and Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance to secure the grant.

"Lee Lawson (BCEDA director) and Jason Padgett (North Baldwin Utilities director) went up and met with him almost like six months ago, and he was very receptive and was very helpful all along the way," Wills said.

Wills said the city will also continue to work with officials and Novelis to provide services needed during construction and after the plant opens. He said the city is also working on plans to control traffic at the site.

"A project of this magnitude has so many moving parts, one of which is traffic control," Wills said. "Because when the shift changes and such out there, there are going to be 200 people leaving at one time and more coming in at one time and of course, now there'll be lots and lots of construction workers coming and going and hundreds of cement trucks. You don't think about those things until it hits you right in the face. That's what it takes to do a project like this. So, it's going to be really interesting. You know, the city of course, we're going to do everything we can do to help police and fire with whatever they need."

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