Friday, June 01, 2007

LaBelle And Clewiston Get $1.4 Million From State

Your Tax Dollars At Work

LABELLE, FL. -- The Florida Department of Community Affairs today announced that it has awarded $1.4 million to two local governments in Hendry County to bring new employers and jobs to area residents. The grants, awarded by the state through a competitive process, will enable the communities to attract a mattress manufacturing facility and a medical professional complex that combined will create an estimated 100 new jobs.

The funds, provided through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, will be used for infrastructure, and more than half the newly created jobs must go to workers from low- or moderate-income households. For the mattress manufacturing facility, a $700,000 grant to the City of Clewiston will provide infrastructure in the form of street improvements and associated flood and drainage improvements. Meanwhile, a $700,000 grant to the City of LaBelle will provide necessary water, sewer and street improvements for a medical professional complex that will house an expanding dental practice.

The grant to the City of Clewiston will fund a portion of the infrastructure supporting the construction of an $8.5-million mattress manufacturing facility within the city's new industrial park. The 62,500-square foot facility is being built by PranaSleep LLC, a subsidiary of City Mattress, which has eleven retail locations in the southern part of the state. The manufacturing facility will employ an estimated 80 people. Clewiston Mayor Mali Chamness expressed the city�s appreciation for the grant, saying, "This is a great success and we are excited about the economic impact Pranasleep brings to our community. Their presence will have a positive effect on our ability to create many good paying jobs within our new Clewiston Commerce Park and ultimately improve the local economy in this region for years to come."

The grant to the City of LaBelle will be used to extend water and sewer lines to the site of the LaBelle Professional Center. The $2.6-million facility will employ an estimated 21 individuals providing medical services for LaBelle and Hendry County. In a recent letter to DCA, Mayor Randal A. Bengston said, "I would like to thank you in advance for your continuous efforts to provide funds to erect the LaBelle Professional Center. . . .Your program will provide needed employment for our residents, as well as (meet) the great need for additional health care for our citizens and visitors to the City of LaBelle and Hendry County."

The CDBG program is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is administered by DCA's Division of Housing and Community Development.  The program provides dollars to small local governments for projects that include housing, neighborhood revitalization, commercial revitalization and economic development initiatives.

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