Commission approves funding help for Abbeville Fiber railway

Funding assistance approved for Abbeville Fiber

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Houston County Commissioners have approved a request for funding railroad reconstruction for Abbeville Fiber.

Monday’s agenda included the request from the Industrial Development Authority from Houston and Henry counties. About $50,000 from the county will go toward rail infrastructure for Abbeville Fiber to allow shipments into and out of the facility.

“Ninety-eight hundred linear feet of main line railroad that had to be rebuilt,” said Matt Parker, President of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s a $1.2 million project that will be funded from the $50,000 from the county and state and local entities.

Although Abbeville Fiber is a Henry County project, the impact of the railway construction reaches through the Wiregrass.

“That rail actually comes through Henry County and Houston County and the port of Panama City. It provides more connectivity for other potential opportunities for utilization of that rail and it really strengthens the area," said Parker.

New numbers from the Chamber of Commerce research show in addition to the 105 direct jobs created through the company, an estimated 216 indirect jobs could be created once Abbeville Fiber is fully operational. Gross business sales are estimated at over $75 million and the gross domestic product for the wood manufacturing industry could double, adding another $30 million.

“This is a partnership with Henry County, Houston County, and Abbeville, and the state and it really shows regionalism at its best,” said Mark Culver, Houston County Commission Chair.

“When you talk about jobs for our Wiregrass citizens, we ignore county lines and city lines. We know what’s good for one is good for all,” Culver said.

Part of the railroad reconstruction project will also require adding a spur. A bid for the project is expect to go out in August and the goal is to have that in place by the fall.

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