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$296K grant awarded for access road

The Alabama Industrial Access Road and Bridge Authority awarded a $296,200 grant Thursday to Covington County for construction of an access road from U.S. Hwy. 84 to the newly developed Nano Materials Manufacturing Machine facility at the South Alabama Regional Airport at Bill Benton Field.

The award was announced Friday by House Speaker Seth Hammett (D-Andalusia) and state Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba).

Nano Materials Manufacturing Machine, currently operating at the Covington County Business Incubator, plans to expand its operation to a new facility at the airport later this year. The new facility is expected to employ some 50 workers for high-skills jobs, including modifications to the C-130 aircraft and production of machinery that makes nanofibers.

The new facility is located off U.S. Hwy. 84, just west of Sitel and across from Covington Electric Cooperative.

Hammett said the grant is important to Covington County and its emphasis on bringing high-tech, high-wage jobs to replace job losses in the textile industry.

“We are working every day to make sure those who want to live and work in Covington County can earn a decent living for themselves and their families,” he said.

Airport administrator Jed Blackwell said the access road would benefit not only Nano Materials, but the airport as well.

“This grant is vital not only for Nano Materials, but for future development of the airport and Covington County’s growing aircraft industry,” Blackwell said.