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Alabama opens up bids for second round of SEEDS grants for site development

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Municipalities can now apply for grant funding from a potentially $30 million pool of state money after the Alabama Department of Commerce opened recently its second round of Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy grants.

Passed into law last year as part of Gov. Kay Ivey’s package of economic development bills, SEEDS allows for municipalities, with a focus on Alabama’s rural communities, to apply for grant funding to develop industry ready sites.

The application period for SEEDS grants will be open from through Sept. 30 and is being administered by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, a private, nonprofit organization focused on economic development in the state.

“Alabama has a need for more quality sites,” said EDPA President Greg Barker said in a statement

“The number of available, publicly held sites in Alabama is down nearly 30% from our peak. Alabama has a proven record of economic development success when we are able to offer prepared sites for targeted businesses.”

The first round of SEEDS grants were awarded in February, and at $30 million, has led to Alabama municipalities now competing for roughly $13.5 billion in capital investment projects from various corporations.

The $30 million in SEEDS grants from the first round was matched with $38.4 million in local funds at 29 different industrial sites encompassing close to 8,400 acres, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce, a sizable portion of which were directed toward the state’s rural counties.

Leaders in Dothan recently received $3.94 million from SEEDS which, along with $3.1 million in matching funds from the city and the Houston County Commission, helped the city acquire a 446-acre industrial site known as Westgate Supersite.

Dothan Mayor Mark Siliba said that with the new site, Dothan will now be a top contender for capital investment projects from across the country.

“The city of Dothan has never been able to compete for very large economic development projects, but now with the Westgate Supersite, our community will be able to be considered for industrial projects that have the potential to facilitate significant economic investment in our community,” Siliba said in a statement.

With a new round of SEED grants now available, Commerce Secretary Ellen McNair urged municipalities to consider taking advantage of the program, having previously told Alabama Daily News that Alabama’s inventory of industry-ready sites was “at an all-time low.”

“Though the first round of SEEDS grants was announced just a few months ago, the program has already enhanced our competitiveness on the economic development playing field,” McNair said in a statement.

“In fact, the new industrial sites created through SEEDS funding are allowing us to compete for more than a dozen corporate growth projects involving a combined $13.5 billion in new capital investment and 5,000 jobs.”

The applications will be evaluated by the State Industrial Development Authority, a state entity that provides financial incentives for economic development. The results for the second round of SEEDS grants will be announced by SIDA in early 2025.

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