ANDREWS An Economic Development Administration grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce will help finance infrastructure for a new industrial park in Andrews.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced May 24 that the Department’s Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.5 million grant to Andrews Economic Development Corporation for critical infrastructure to support a new business park. The grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.
The funding will provide road and water infrastructure for the Northwest Business Park, supporting business development and growth, a news release said.
The EDA grant will be matched with $2.4 million in local funds and is expected to create 50 jobs and generate $62 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
The infrastructure will include water, sewer and streets for a new industrial park which will be on the northwest side of town, Andrews Development Corporation Executive Director Morse Haynes said.
The park involves a 44-acre tract. Haynes said they will start the process of getting the land platted.
The Economic Development Corporation purchased the land about a year ago.
“We thought we had a pretty good chance to get the grant, so we actually hired a grant writer to put this together for us,” Haynes said.
He added that there are no specific plans yet for what will go into the park, but they want to let people know there will be lots available.
Haynes said he would probably plat seven lots and if there’s a big project, they could be combined.
There are two industrial parks in Andrews currently — Business Park West and Business Park South. Most of the lots in each park already have businesses on them.
“… The business parks have been a great way to get businesses to locate here and to expand,” Haynes said.
If there is a good project, he said the entities will work together.
“… Sometimes there will be a tax abatement, and that’s where all the entities except the school, the hospital district and the county and the city all go together on a tax abatement. We do that to encourage people to come here, too,” Haynes added.
He said the school district is a good drawing card.
“You get a little bit more rural type atmosphere and some people want their kids to go to a little smaller school sometimes. I grew up in a town, a graduating class of 28, so I’m a proponent of smaller schools myself,” Haynes said.
He grew up in McLean, about 70 miles east of Amarillo.
Haynes said he will go out for requests for qualifications from some engineering firms to select an engineer to plat the land.
“Once we get it platted, we’ll go out for bids to put the water, sewer and roads in,” he said.
Haynes said he estimates it will be about two years before businesses start popping up at the park.
“You really don’t have anything to promote, unless you have all the infrastructure there. It’s not a site until you have it all. Otherwise, you’ve just got land,” Haynes said.
When businesses come to town they ask if there is water, sewer, fiber and internet.
“And when you can check yes on all those boxes then they will take a more serious look at you,” Haynes said.
The business park is in an area of town that is growing with new homes and apartments and potential for more.
Haynes has been executive director of Andrews Economic Development Corporation for three and a half years. He did the same work in Monahans for 13 years.
Haynes said he moved to Andrews to be closer to family. His son is the economic development director in Denver City.
“He’s done a great job. He enjoys it. He’s starting at a younger age than me,” Haynes said.
He worked for Oncor for 21 years before going into economic development.
Haynes added that being in a business that serves the area helps tremendously in economic development.
Working with the electric company, he did easements and learned a lot about utilities. Then in Monahans, he learned more about city utilities such as water and sewer.
“We actually put in water in certain streets on the east side of Monahans,” Haynes said.
The economic development corporation there developed the land where the Ward County Event Center is now. There also is a restaurant and hotel nearby.
“We owned that land and the county was awesome,” Haynes said.
U.S. Department of Commerce invests in Andrews business park