EDC wins state award

Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Roger Feagley (second from left) and Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell (third from right), were among those celebrating the Texas Economic Development Council's recent award to the local EDC.

The Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation has once again been honored by the Texas Economic Development Council.

The state umbrella organization for local economic development groups awarded the EDC one of its Community Economic Development Awards for areas of between 10,001 and 20,000.

The award was given for a multifaceted project that eventually led to helping Saputo expand its workforce by 61 jobs. The TEDC noted that the effort involved the local EDC buying land from another business, using a Texas Capitol Fund grant to help upgrade the city of Sulphur Springs' wastewater pre-treatment plant, then working with electric transmission agency Oncor.

A spinoff from this, the award noted, let the local EDC help J-B Weld build a new 78,000-square foot facility while adding 13 jobs.

"You submit a project that you think is worthy," Roger Feagley, executive director of the Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation, explained of entering the contest.

He said the TEDC judges entries on factors like creativity, uniqueness and cooperative work with the community being involved.

"We submitted Saputo, because it's adding high-paying jobs and $50 million to the plant," he said.

A key part of the work was getting Oncor to sell its facility to Saputo.

"That was the piece of property it had to have," Feagley said.

He explained that Oncor agreed to sell and move if the EDC would build it a new site further north and east, near the Armorock facility on Heritage Court.

That is being done. Feagley said that Oncor would pay for the facility when complete.

Work with the community, he said, included working through the Ark-Tex Council of Governments with the Texas Department of Agriculture to get the $750,000 Texas Capitol Fund grant.

Saputo had also been interested in J-B Weld's Como Street site. Chip Hanson, president and CEO of J-B Weld, said the company had outgrown the current facility on Como Street.

The EDC helped make that purchase happen as well as getting J-B moved to the site of a new facility a few miles west at CMH Road and North Interstate 30 Frontage Road. It broke ground there this summer, and Feagley said walls for its building are already up.

This was the second year in a row for the local EDC to win and third in Feagley's 13 years there.

He said that the awards also are a bit of an edge when it comes to business recruitment, when company representatives see the honors in his agency's office.

Neighboring Greenville's development agency won the TEDC award in the next largest size class.

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