Texas city receives grant money to build eco-industrial park

Park houses firms that conserve natural and economic resources, reduce energy and water use and provide opportunities for reuse or recycling.

July 14, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Officials with the city of Austin, Texas, have accepted $1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) that will be used to fund water and sewer infrastructure improvements for the Austin [re]Manufacturing Hub. The hub will be Austin’s first eco-industrial park and the center for what the city says is zero-waste jobs in the recycling, reuse and repair industries.

The Austin Resource Recovery says the eco-industrial park consists of facilities that conserve natural and economic resources, reduce energy and water use and provide opportunities for reuse or recycling. The redeveloped land will house industrial plants constructed by private sector businesses that use recyclables as raw materials in the production of new products.

“The Obama administration is committed to supporting American manufacturing, which is a vital part of our nation’s economic growth,” says Jay Williams, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, who presented the city with the grant. “The EDA grant announced today supports critical infrastructure that will help green manufacturers thrive and strengthen the regional economy around Austin.”

“The goal for the hub is to close the recycling loop in Austin,” says Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Gedert. “With these funds, the city will be able to lay the foundation and attract businesses that will help localize the entire recycling process.”

The Austin [re]Manufacturing hub also will provide an economic driver for jobs and investment through the waste-based industry in the central Texas region, officials say. It is expected to assist recycling and reuse companies in creating more than 1,000 jobs locally.

“It’s a big win for Austin to be receiving this grant from the Economic Development Administration,” says Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “Our [re]Manufacturing Hub is sure to attract green businesses that can turn our resident’s recyclables into new products. Also, I understand it’s estimated this project will leverage more than $30 million in private sector development while creating up to 1,250 jobs,” he adds.

Economic Development Department director Kevin Johns adds, “Manufacturing can provide significant job opportunities for those currently living in poverty, the unemployed, the underemployed and the previously incarcerated.”

He adds, “The Austin [re]Manufacturing Hub will be a catalyst for development in southeast Austin, creating hundreds of quality green jobs in a growing industry.”

The city is matching the funds provided by the EDA for the wastewater utility extension with nearly $2 million. The grant funds will be considered for city council approval in August.

Infrastructure development is scheduled to begin early 2015. Businesses interested in learning more about the opportunities available at the [re]Manufacturing Hub are encouraged to contact Austin Resource Recovery at www.austintexas.gov/ecopark.