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IDA seeks GRAD level for its site
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The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority is stepping up one of its sites to a GRAD level.

IDA members approved a $6,500 engineering contract with Thomas and Hutton to bring the Governor Treutlen site into GRAD certification. The Georgia Allies established GRAD, or Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development, to spur economic development opportunities. GRAD sites are a pool of pre-qualified, available industrial sites across the state. Georgia Allies, formed in 1997, is a coalition of private businesses and the state government that leads economic development marketing efforts.

“If you want to get at the top of the sites they have ready to show, this is what you want to get,” IDA CEO John Henry said.

As of May, there were only eight GRAD sites in the state and two of them are in Liberty County. The only other GRAD site in southeast Georgia is the Toombs Corporate Center.

The Governor Treutlen site, in the Effingham Industrial Park off Highways 21 and 275, is about 66 acres. It is the former site of the Springfield sprayfield and in marketing the site, the IDA boasts that it has water, power and sewer on site and gas lines are only 1,000 feet away.

The GRAD sites, Henry said, are those that are essentially “shovel ready.” IDA Project manager Ryan Moore said the number of GRAD sites is low now but could rise significantly in the next four to five years.

Henry also said the IDA office has worked more than two dozen projects of 25 jobs or more in fiscal year 2010. The investments from those projects ranged as high $641 million to $2 billion.

Effingham was eliminated as a contender for three prospects, including Great Dane, which announced earlier this week it would open a 400-job plant in Bulloch County. Two other projects chose to locate anywhere, leaving nearly 20 prospects still out there on the line.

“There’s a bunch of them out there still waiting to pull the trigger,” Henry said.

He said the IDA continues to show the Governor Treutlen site to interested parties.