Cleveland awarded nearly $18M economic development grant

The grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce will be used to upgrade the city of Cleveland's wastewater treatment facility. (Source: Google Maps)

Cleveland has been awarded a $17,987,491 Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The grant money will be used for wastewater infrastructure improvements to support job creation and economic growth. Specifically, the city says the funds will enable the city to upgrade the current wastewater treatment facility.

“The Economic Development Administration works closely with communities to support locally driven disaster recovery and resiliency efforts,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will provide critical infrastructure improvements to help diversify the regional economy and create jobs.”

Cleveland Mayor Josh Turner acknowledged the collaborative efforts put into the application process.

“This grant award is the culmination of months of work and meetings to garner support. Senator Jon Ossoff and his office staff were champions for Cleveland throughout this process,” said Turner. “I also want to thank Congressman Andrew Clyde and Senator Raphael Warnock for their support of the application and the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission for writing the application.”

Cleveland City Councilmember CJ McDonald expressed his excitement upon receiving the news.

“It’s going to be great! It’s going to reduce the tax burden on the citizens of Cleveland. It’s going to reduce the amount of money we have to potentially bond or get loaned, so it’s a home run, slam dunk. We are so thrilled; I’m so thrilled we got this grant.”

McDonald said the city’s current sewage treatment plant must be upgraded to grow and meet residents’ needs.

“Senator Warnock and I continue to support Georgia’s economic development — today, with resources for water infrastructure improvements in Cleveland. I thank President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Raimondo, and Assistant Secretary Castillo for their assistance and support,” said Sen. Ossoff.

Sen. Warnock added, “The health of Georgia’s communities is tied to the health of our environment, which is why I am proud to have supported legislation making this $18 million grant for Cleveland possible.” He added, “As a pastor and public servant, I believe we are called to be good stewards of our Earthly home and its resources so we can pass them on to future generations. By investing in clean water and infrastructure upgrades, we are investing in healthy and thriving communities across Georgia for decades to come.”

Cleveland’s project will be funded through the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023.

“The significance of this investment is a game changer for the City of Cleveland and community,” said City Administrator Kevin Harris. “Sewer infrastructure and overall capacity is so important to economic growth and housing and I’m proud of the investment that EDA has made in the future of our community.”

The city’s next step is to conduct an initial kickoff meeting with EDA. This will allow the city to bid on the project and move forward with construction.

Dean Dyer of WRWH Radio contributed to this article

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