The award from the Alabama Industrial Access Bridge and Road Corporation is an economic development grant to provide road access to new and expanding businesses, said MDA executive director Robin Scott.
The authority was able to secure the grant to improve Pappy Dunn Boulevard and Eglin Avenue to support Medi Klean and Alagasco, which are building along Pappy Dunn, and International Automotive Components, which is expanding on its site at the intersection of Pappy Dunn and Eglin.
In all, the businesses will bring about 130 new jobs to McClellan, said Anniston City Councilman Jay Jenkins, one of the participants at Tuesday’s meeting with the Industrial Access Board.
Jenkins believes the number of jobs — 10 at Medi Klean, 85 from IAC’s expansion, all new to Calhoun County — was one of the reasons the MDA was awarded the grant. Forty jobs at Alagasco are actually a move from the company’s facility on Third Street to a new building under construction on Pappy Dunn. Also helping to secure the grant was the unified voice that representatives from the Alabama Department of Transportation, the city of Anniston, Calhoun County, local state legislators and regional economic development groups presented at the meeting, Jenkins said.
“It does make a difference,” Jenkins said. “Talk about regional impact, this project can have a true regional impact.”
Also attractive to the entity awarding the grant, said Scott, is that the project was already designed in the master plan for the park and was literally shovel-ready.
Pappy Dunn Boulevard, which intersects with Iron Mountain Road at its end, will serve as an entrance to the industrial park. The road will start as a two-lane road split by a median and taper into a two-lane connected road. It will have sidewalks for employees and visitors to walk around the businesses. The portion of Eglin that connects to Pappy Dunn and runs behind International Automotive Components to the companies’ loading docks will be straightened and improved and a warehouse that forces a curve in the road will be demolished, Scott said.
In all, the request was for $950,241.05 to fund 2,380 feet of new road.
Right now, sources say, the roads, which are riddled with potholes, are not adequate for handling the tractor-trailer traffic that the new facilities will bring. Making the roads sturdier was the goal of the grant request, Scott said, but the work will also make the nearby sites more attractive to businesses looking for a place to settle.
“It really kind of dovetails nicely into our plan,” Scott said. “It’s just additional development on top of what we had already planned for this year.”
Alagasco, one of the companies benefiting from the new road, is building a 13,500-square-foot operations center on the boulevard, said Sherri Goodman, spokeswoman for the company.
All 40 employees will be making the move to the new facility, probably in March, Goodman said.
“We really just needed more space,” Goodman said. “This is a more centralized location for us.”
She said the company is excited about the road upgrade because it will give employees better access to the office and allow the company to have better access to its customers.
Efforts to reach representatives of Medi Klean and IAC for comment late Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
The city of Anniston has also applied for a grant from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to continue Iron Mountain Road from its end at Pappy Dunn to Alabama 21. That project will cost about $5.2 million, according to the application.
Star staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.