With construction ongoing at the Novelis facility in Bay Minette, economic development officials say the announcement of a $2.5 million federal grant will support water infrastructure upgrades in the …
With construction ongoing at the Novelis facility in Bay Minette, economic development officials say the announcement of a $2.5 million federal grant will support water infrastructure upgrades in the area.
North Baldwin Utilities will receive the grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, according to the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.
This EDA grant will enable a 2.5 million-gallon elevated water storage tank to be placed in Bay Minette to serve the Novelis site and the north Baldwin County community. The total construction process for the water storage tank will cost over $6 million, with a total of $6.4 million being invested into these infrastructure improvements, as $3.9 million in local funding is being contributed to match the $2.5 million grant from the EDA.
"Part of the original commitment to Novelis was providing a 2-million-gallon water tank for their water processes and fire protection, but the community was also in need of more water storage, especially for dry times like we have experienced this summer," said Jason Padgett, CEO for North Baldwin Utilities.
"The water tank will be placed on property adjacent to the Novelis site that North Baldwin Utilities owns. Constructing a water tower that will help our community and a large industrial customer such as Novelis, which is also bringing more jobs to the community, is a win-win. This is a joint effort where everyone worked together and everyone benefits, and we are so excited to support this job growth and future development for the community."
A state Community Development Block grant also totaling $2.5 million was awarded in January to extend utility services to the site.
The Novelis aluminum plant is expected to bring economic growth to the community, with Novelis investing approximately $3 billion and creating 1,000 direct jobs. Its imminent arrival was announced in May 2022, with construction breaking ground in October 2022. The plant is expected to be open by 2025.
"Novelis is setting high standards through their operations," said Lee Lawson, president & CEO of the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. "We are proud to partner with North Baldwin Utilities and the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission to support Novelis and the generational impact their investment will have on Baldwin County's economy."
Novelis is the leading sustainable aluminum solutions provider and world leader in rolling and recycling. Novelis is expected to create approximately $6.5 billion in total economic output and 900 indirect jobs in addition to the 1,000 direct jobs at the 3,000-acre former South Alabama MegaSite in Bay Minette. The plant will be primarily powered by renewable energy, use recycled water and be a zero-waste facility.
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission. EDA funds SARPC to unite the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
Lawson has said in previous reporting with Gulf Coast Media that the plant will pay an average salary of $65,000, almost $20,000 more than the average salary in Baldwin County.