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IDA may go after grant writer to go after grants
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It’s going to cost the Effingham Industrial Development Authority some money to secure money the state already has promised.

For $50,000, the IDA will hire a grant writer for a $2.9 million state grant that was part of the state’s incentive package to lure Portuguese manufacturer EFACEC to Effingham County.

The grant application is due to the OneGeorgia Authority by the end of next month.

“All that burden has been placed on us,” IDA Chief Executive Officer John Henry said.

The OneGeorgia Authority typically assists less affluent counties, and Effingham doesn’t fall into that category. The IDA had to show that the EFACEC project had regional implications in order to qualify for OneGeorgia help.

Part of the grant application includes letters of support from surrounding counties. Henry said he has secured that letter from Screven County’s commissioners.

EFACEC, which plans to open its U.S. headquarters at the Effingham Industrial Park, is in the process of hiring an engineering firm for a design/build of its Effingham plant.

“We want to get the ball rolling once they get a design/build team,” Henry said.

The IDA also is in line for a $500,000 grant to help with rail work going into the Effingham Industrial Park for EFACEC, but that grant does not have a May 29 deadline as the OneGeorgia grant does.

The grant writer will handle both, Henry said.

The delay in finding an engineering firm has pushed back the projected opening of the plant by about six months. A groundbreaking for the plant could be held as early as June.

IDA members also explored the idea of other grants available to help with their other projects. Board member Charles Hinely said the state has several grants available for greenspace.

“The Research Forest Tract has got a lot of greenspace,” he said.

The IDA also weighed how a grant writer also could help other entities.

“It could be beneficial to the entire county to have a good grant writer here,” Henry said.