The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced a $1.2 million grant to the City of Osceola, Arkansas to help with infrastructure improvements that will support the Big River Steel Mill project.
Back in Jan 2013, Big River Steel, LLC had announced a plan to invest $1.1 billion for building a steel mill in Mississippi County, AR.
The steel mill will create more than 530 direct jobs with average annual wages of $75,000, in addition to more than 2,000 construction jobs.
Announcing the $1.2 million grant award for Osceola, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said that this EDA investment will help Arkansas make needed upgrades and improvements that will help attract new business and investment to the Osceola region.
The EDA grant will be used by the city for making critical sewer and water infrastructure improvements that will support not only the steel mill and the Big River Steel corporate headquarters, but also a railroad tank car off-loading facility that will generate another $325 million in private investment.
Arkansas is supporting the Big River Steel project with package of state and local incentives that includes $125 million in financing and tax breaks. The financing was provided by the State through general obligation bonds after invoking Amendment 82 for the first time in the state‚Äôs history.
Amendment 82, approved by Arkansas voters in 2004, allows the State to use up to five percent of the general revenue budget for bond financing of super economic development projects.
While announcing the financing for Big River Steel, Gov. Mike Beebe said that ‚ÄúA project of this scope will be a catalyst for job creation, investment and economic development beyond this one facility.‚Äù
Gov. Beebe added that the Big River Steel project will help them recruit more supplier businesses and steel consumers to Northeast Arkansas.
The $125 million package includes a $50 million loan for the company, another $50 million for site preparation, and $20 million for piling-subsurface stabilization costs.
The City of Osceola has approved $2 million in local incentives for Big River Steel, and Mississippi County chipped in with $14.5 million.
Apart from the Governor‚Äôs Office and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, a host of other state and local organizations worked on securing this project.
The City of Osceola, Mississippi County Economic Development, BNSF Railway, Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Arkansas Development Finance Authority, Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, and the Arkansas Capital Corporation and its affiliates were all instrumental in recruiting Big River Steel.