Jasper Mayor David O'Mary has discussed details of grants apparently being obtained to help Jasper Forest Products, formerly called Jasper Lumber Company.
O'Mary spoke at Friday's work session of the Jasper City Council.
Although he said he would not go too deeply into the subject, O'Mary noted an industrial project "at the sawmill," apparently referring to Jasper Lumber.
"It's going to be a big project. There is going to be grant money coming. Ken Bosewell, who heads up (the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs) called me this morning, and Ken and I talked at length. We're going to see probably $600,000 come in that will tie into that project."
That will include $300,000 each from the Appalachian Regional Commission and a Community Development Block Grant, he said.
"The project that is going to be done is an $800,000 project and the owners of the company would supply another $200,000 to make that work," O'Mary said. "We have a meeting next Friday with our grant writer, making sure we are all on the same page. It will be our responsibility to administer the grant."
He went on to say that the officials are "good folks out at the sawmill" and the grant money and development is significant for our city. He said state Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, is to thank for that.
"You don't get those grants every day," he said. "That is another plus for our city to have a grant like that come our way. Ken Boswell talked about how proud Senator Reed is of his city and how he works for us, so that is good."
Officials announced in late 2020 that Jasper Lumber Company and Canada’s Tolko Industries Ltd. formed a partnership that will expand lumber production at a Walker County facility through a $45 million project, creating at least 60 new jobs. The investment will triple capacity at Jasper Lumber’s existing sawmill and create additional activity for its other subsidiary companies, which will operate under the parent company Jasper Forest Products LLC., a Jasper-Tolko Partnership.
Plans call for the construction of new facilities, the installation of new machinery, and increased shifting at the mill.
Reed issued a statement about the venture late last year, saying it was exciting news and will create a major expansion of the Jasper lumber facility.
"I would like to thank the Walker County Development Authority, the Jasper Industrial Development Board, the City of Jasper, and the Governor’s office for their efforts to support this exciting project," he said then.
Tolko, a family-owned privately held wood products company based in British Columbia, Canada, will hold a 50 percent stake in Jasper Forest Products through its U.S. subsidiary. Tolko produces a wide variety of wood-based products including lumber, oriented strand board (OSB), plywood, and pellets.
Jasper Lumber, a major industrial employer in Walker County, has manufactured quality southern pine lumber for over 30 years. Roy Beall, chief operating officer at Jasper Lumber Company, said partnering with Tolko will allow the local operation to create jobs and expand our capacity from 70 million board feet to approximately 200 million.
Construction work at the Jasper sawmill will begin early this year. The Walker County Development Authority, the Jasper Industrial Development Board, and the City of Jasper have been working on the project for about a year, securing various funding grants to help expand key utility infrastructure to the project.