WOLCOTT — The Town of Wolcott was dished a huge assist this week by the U.S. Department of Commerce ‘s Economic Development Administration awarded it a $4.5 million grant to build a new wastewater treatment facility.
The EDA grant, to be matched with more than $2.8 million in local investment, is expected to create 195 jobs and spur $73 million in private investment.
“This is kind of a good deal because White County and the Town of Wolcott are partnering on this project to update their wastewater treatment plant and increase the capacity,” said Randy Mitchell, White County Economic Development president. “What we’re finding is with new businesses coming in and they way they’re expanding — EggLife is expanding faster than we thought they would be doing — we don’t want to run short on capacity.”
The new wastewater treatment plan is expected to further boost the viability of nearby Mid-America Commerce Park which is already occupied by at least two production facilities.
EggLife LLC unveiled its operations at the park last October by starting production in a 60,000-square foot facility, creating a line of gluten-free, low carbohydrate egg white wraps using cage-free eggs from chickens raised on family farms.
Sweetener Supply, of Brookfield, Ill., is also moving is operations from the Chicago area to the commerce park this year, where it plans to build a 150,000-square foot facility using $24 million in investments. It plans to be fully operational sometime early next year.
“It’s a joint contribution between the town and the county to serve both entities,” Mitchell said. “This improvement is going to serve any growth in Wolcott, but certainly the growth of Mid-America Commerce Park.”
Through separate grants, White County is contributing $4.5 million while Wolcott is contributing $2.8 million.
“The reason it is done this way is because — it’s really kind of strange — Wolcott applied through USDA, but they were not eligible to apply for EDA,” Mitchell said. “Likewise, the county applied for EDA because they were not eligible to apply to USDA. That’s why we had to have Wolcott do their part of it and county do its part of it.”
The new plant will handle 600,000 gallons a day, with 200,000 belonging to the town and 400,000 to Mid-America Commerce Park.
“This investment will benefit White County’s Mid-America Commerce Park to support existing employers and attract new businesses,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated in a press release.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb lauded the grant award, saying that upgrading infrastructure is a top priority in the state.
“Indiana is grateful to have the support of our federal partners in these investments,” Holcomb stated. “A new wastewater treatment facility is key to growth in White County and will help expand economic opportunities for Hoosiers.”
Indiana Sen. Todd Young said it was a long-needed investment in White County.
“This $4.5 million grant will bring nearly 200 Hoosier jobs to White County and help support the local economy,” he said.
The project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by hurricanes Florence, Michael and Lane, typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act.