City continues with infrastructure grant, attracting new business

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, November 10, 2012

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Changes in authorizing organizations have delayed the process of bringing a new business to town.

U.S. Ply Inc., a Fort Worth-based roofing materials company, is expected to move its corporate headquarters/office operation and open a manufacturing facility on a 6-acre tract in the Bridgeport Industrial Park.

To offset the costs of a needed natural gas infrastructure, the Economic Development Corp. applied for a Texas Capital Fund grant, which the council approved in November of last year.

After earning a qualifying score in January, the city didn’t receive the contract documents until July due to the merging of the Texas Office of Rural Affairs into the Texas Department of Agriculture and revisions to the grant contract.

Last month, the company requested the city continue with the grant contract execution.

Tuesday, the council approved an amended performance agreement with the company reflecting later dates resulting from the delays, an interlocal agreement with its Economic Development Corp., a TCF grant contract with the TDA and a contractor/company contract with U.S. Ply.

As outlined in the interlocal agreement, the EDC will act as the city’s agent in the project and will temporarily carry the $328,765 cost of the natural gas infrastructure construction until it is reimbursed through TCF grant funds. These funds will go through the city, as required by the TCF grant.

“Contracts are made between the town and state,” City Administrator Brandon Emmons said. “The money is actually being funded by the EDC. We’re the ones obligated to carry the contract.”

U.S. Ply will provide the city with a $328,765 irrevocable letter of credit from a local lender until TCF provisions are met.

“The EDC had requested a credit line to cover our exposure during the time we were out the funds,” EDC Executive Director William Myers said.

With the EDC “funding the cashflow,” U.S. Ply is expected to use its capital to purchase the facility, expand an existing 20,000-square-foot building by 10,000 square feet, acquire machinery, relocate operations and begin production efforts.

“If all goes as planned, construction of the natural gas line should start near the first of January 2013 and should be completed by March 2013,” Myers said. “As the natural gas infrastructure nears completion, U.S. Ply will begin expanding the facility.”

The company is expected to create 58 permanent jobs, with at least 51 percent of those held by people with low to moderate income – 20 by December 2013.

“In addition, the natural gas infrastructure line will create additional economic expansion opportunities in Bridgeport Industrial Park,” Myers said.

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