AVON PARK — The City Council discussed the project to extend its utilities northward to provide service to Nucor’s steel rebar mill, which is slated to open in July 2020.

The production facility, on the northern side of the Highlands County line in Polk County, will create 250 new high-paying jobs, according to a grant application that will reimburse the city for the cost of extending water and wastewater services.

Councilwoman Maria Sutherland said she placed the Nucor grant project on the agenda due to interest from community members who have been asking about it because the plant will be bringing jobs to the area.

She has no doubt that the jobs will come because what Nucor is planning is huge, Sutherland said.

“What I like about this project is it is going up Highway 27, which will expand our commercial corridor with potential businesses in the future,” Sutherland said. “Sun Pure will be doing plastics recycling as well, so it will be a boon for the economy here.”

The city seeks $971,500 from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund with the design and engineering costing an estimated $104,500 and construction costing $867,000 for the utilities extension.

The grant application notes that the extension of water and wastewater lines to the northern part of Avon Park and Highlands County will provide development opportunities, which will ultimately result in job creation and economic recovery for the community.

Sutherland said the city will be the administrator for the grant, which is based on a reimbursement basis. The city will need to have the money for the project up front so the city will be on the hook for $971,000. After it is all done, the city will start getting its payments back.

Mayor Garrett Anderson asked Utilities Director Josh Turner if he knew how much wastewater capacity they would be using.

Turner said the city has been informed about Nucor’s capacity needs, but the city’s utility profits have not been studied.

At some point the city will have to add to its wastewater plant, he added.

Sutherland said Monday it sounds like the grant has been confirmed, but the city has yet to receive a formal final approval.


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