The U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced the Bowie Economic Development Corporation and City of Bowie will receive a $1.4 million grant.

Janis Crawley, executive director for the BEDC, was excited to report the grant receipt this week more than a year after the original application was submitted.

The local entities will receive $1,460,000 in Economic Adjustment Assistance-COVID 19-Recovery and Resiliency Projects with a local investment of $365,000, providing a total of $1,511,000 for infrastructure improvements for the Bowie Business Park.

Crawley said they were informed in August the grant was approved pending all the final legalities, and as September came to an end it was released. The BEDC’s match has also been increased to $300,000 from the 4A board and $300,000 from the 4B board, which she said fulfills the original grant application.

The project will construct a spec building within the park about 10,000 square feet in size, along with increasing the size of Gardner Road adjacent to the park property.

“We want to open up that area of the property as commercial lots, and then build the speculative building. That may be downsized somewhat because the cost of construction has doubled since the application was made. There is not enough money to do both, but I am in negotiations with the EDA about that,” explained the director.

The pandemic and related supply chain problems have caused major increases in building supplies such as plywood, but also there are shortages blamed on an array of issues from staff shortages to companies trying to come back after closing during the pandemic.

The grant application stated this project will help the city rebound from the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, as well as an F-1 tornado that struck the town in May 2020.

“Once completed, the project will generate employment opportunities and attract private investment, which will strengthen the regional economy and advance economic resiliency throughout the region. The grantees estimate this investment will help save eight jobs and leverage $800,000 in private investment,” states the grant application.

The director said a spec building is what everyone asks for, so if that is available they can fill it quicker and get a company going. According to the grant the BEDC will own the building for 20 years and it will be available for lease.

“Ultimately this gives us the tools we need to finish out the business park so it is complete and attractive to commercial and industrial prospects. This grant is a fantastic project that pushes the park further along. Opening that part up will give people an understanding of the industrial side of the park. The Walters’ complex is a great commercial property, but this building is give us an opportunity to attract primary jobs, which is the ultimate goal of the BEDC, jobs that build a community,” Crawley explained.

The Bowie Business Park had its first grand opening for a business in mid-September when Walters Land Surveying Company LLC opened its recently completed office complex. The 5,300-square foot building encompasses two units under one room with the surveying firm in one and the other 2,500-square foot unit available for lease.

The Walters purchased a two-acre tract in the park on the commercial side and began dirt work in April 2020. Patrick Walters said they are very pleased with the way the units turned out and said if they get that one leased, they would like to build more offices in the park. Crawley called the opening of the Walters building a great way to initiate business development within the park.

The Bowie Business Park was completed in late summer of 2017 and is located near the intersection of U.S. Highway 287 South and Farm-to-Market Road 1125. Ground was broken a year earlier. The park was funded through the 4A economic development sales tax and $1.5 million in revenue bonds through the BEDC.

Located on 123 acres the park was built at $2.3 million offering what the BEDC team calls “Shovel-ready” building sites for commercial and industry business expansion and retail opportunities.

The BEDC director said they have completed some of the initial paperwork and the $600,000 local match has been put into a restricted account. Hayter Engineering has been hired to do the preliminary survey and studies for Gardner Road. Crawley said they hope to go out for bids within the next few weeks.

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