$4.8M From CARES Act to Support NEA Steelmakers, Manufacturers

$4.8M From CARES Act to Support NEA Steelmakers, Manufacturers
The Big River Steel Flex Mill near Osceola. The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded CARES Act funds to Osceola to support the area's growing steel industry. (Karen E. Segrave)

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the cities of Wynne and Osceola a total of $4.8 million in CARES Act funds for projects supporting the manufacturing and steel industries.

Osceola received $2.8 million to make water and wastewater improvements to support the region's growing steel industry without straining the existing system.

Major steelmakers in the area include Nucor-Yamato, Nucor-Hickman and U.S. Steel-owned Big River Steel. Those companies employ most of Mississippi County's 3,600 steel mill workers and have made more than $2.1 billion in capital investments in the area. 

The grant, administered by the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA), will be matched with $955,405 in local funds and is expected to create 100 jobs. It's also expected to generate $2 billion in private investment, the Department of Commerce said in a news release.

"This EDA investment in Osceola will provide necessary water infrastructure improvements to support business expansion within the steel industry, leading to a stronger regional economy," Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in the release. 

Wynne received $2 million in funds that will be used to construct a new industrial rail spur facility in Wynne. The project, which will provide alternative means of transportation for manufacturers and farmers, is expected to create about 200 jobs, according to the Department of Commerce. The grant will be matched with $500,000 in local funds.

Alejandra Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, said in a news release that the project will "better prepare the region for future economic disruptions by offering alternative means of transportation of supplies and goods.”

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