June 22, 2005

CRAPO: GRANT COULD MEAN 3,000 JOBS TO MAGIC VALLEY

EDA grant to spur high tech, environmental improvements near Jerome

Washington, DC â?? Idaho Senator Mike Crapo joined with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) today to announce a $2.7 million federal grant to assist development east of the City of Jerome and north of Twin Falls. Crapo says the EDA grant will be used to spur new jobs and economic development among three commercial and industrial parks.â??This grant will greatly expand the use of technology between Jerome, the Jerome Butte development, and the College of Southern Idaho. Jerome and Twin Falls have long been due for the kind of improvements that this EDA grant will bring,â?? Crapo said. â??Future use of the developments involved could include health care, education, and business opportunities that will greatly benefit the Magic Valley economy. Some economic models project more than 3,000 new jobs as a result of this planned activity.â??Crapo and city leaders say three development areas are involved in grants from several sources including the EDA funds announced today. The planned Jerome Butte high-tech industrial site will receive fiber-optic service which will be extended to the College of Southern Idaho, plus new water and sewer lines, roads, curbs and gutter improvements. The funding will help to upgrade the Jerome Wastewater Treatment Plant and sewer and water service will also be extended south of Jerome to the new 300 South industrial park project. Jerome City Administrator Travis Rothweiler says the grant will have several benefits. â??The main purpose of the grant is to diversify our local economy, but it will also provide environmental safeguards which will protect our aquifer. This grant is not just for the City of Jerome; the entire Magic Valley will benefit from the increase in jobs and economic opportunity,â?? Rothweiler said.EDA officials predict that as many as 300 jobs may be created initially as work on the infrastructure projects gets underway. Future jobs may also be created by business groups already interested in locating at the sites, including the Crossroads Point development. EDA made earlier infrastructure improvements in the Jerome area in 1984 and 1991. Since those improvements were completed, 43 firms invested a total of $250 million at the Jerome Industrial Park, creating 1,700 jobs. The grant being announced by Crapo and EDA is being matched at the local level. Contributors include the City of Jerome, Jerome Urban Renewal, the Idaho Community Block Grant Program along with funding and other commitments from the private sector.