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Capital outlay funding totaling $20 million was approved for Vidalia’s port and for industrial park upgrades, Mayor Buz Craft said Tuesday.

“We’re just waiting for the governor to sign House Bill 2,” Craft said. 

Craft said $9,098,100 has been moved into priority 1 capital outlay funding for development of the slackwater port, including planning and construction.

Additionally, $5 million in priority 2 funding was approved for the industrial park for utility system upgrade, planning, acquisition, construction and equipment and another $5 million for the same purpose placed in priority 5.

Craft said the industrial park work funding is for the addition of an electrical substation and work to extend gas, water and sewerage development.

“We’re looking at creating a smart grid community as we are outgrowing our physical capacity due to an increase in industrial development,” Craft said, which includes a denim manufacturer and a graphite plant.

Craft said negotiations are now underway with another company that would add additional investment and jobs.

He also said that the hydroelectric plant is operating a higher level than normal, meaning additional revenue for the town. He said the budget was amended Tuesday night at the regular meeting of the board of aldermen to reflect the possible additional revenue in order to remain in compliance with their budget.

“It’s almost scary at how well things are moving for our town and parish,” Craft said. “Everybody is optimistic and positive. We are blessed to live here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

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