AVON PARK — The Avon Park City Council accepted a $971,500 grant to fund water and wastewater infrastructure improvements to serve businesses to the north of Avon Park.
The grant funds were awarded from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The project will include the extension of a 12-inch water distribution line for approximately 2.25 miles and an 8-inch sewer force main for approximately 2 miles along U.S. 27 in north Avon Park up to the county line.
The extension of Avon Park’s utilities will serve Nucor Florida’s steel rebar mill, slated to be in operation in July 2020, directly on the northern side of the Highlands and Polk county line.
Already located within this area is Sun Pure Holding, an international plastics recycling and manufacturing company that acquired an existing 90,000-plus square-foot facility and chose Avon Park as the location of its first U.S. production facility.
Mayor Garrett Anderson said the grant approval needed to be done immediately, but there is no rush on the utility agreement with Nucor because there is plenty of time to work on it.
Nucor Florida Controller Corey Allain said Tuesday everything is moving forward with the approval of the grant and procurement process.
“We are very excited to be working with Avon Park for their water and sewer [services] and so far things are moving ahead and we look forward to the next steps,” Allain said.
Councilwoman Maria Sutherland said, “I think we are pretty close to completing the engineering part of the project and now with the grant approval we will be able to go to bid for the actual construction.”
The grant is based on the creation of 150 jobs.
Nucor is targeting the creature of about 250 jobs, but that is over the course of several years, she said.
“I believe their initial projection would be 150 [jobs], but anything after that would be gravy for the grant,” Sutherland said. So whether it is Nucor or any other company along the new utility extension, those jobs would be counted toward the grant.
Also, City Attorney Gerald Buhr continues to work on the utility agreement with Nucor, she said.