Pender County is getting more than two million dollars from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help bolster its economy. The award, announced yesterday, will go toward construction of a wastewater treatment plant that will serve manufacturing operations in Pender Commerce Park. That’s just off of Highway 421, north of the New Hanover County line. So far, that park is empty--but by the end of this year, it will be home to a major seafood processing facility.
ACME Smoked Fish will occupy an eight-and-a-half million-dollar facility, and over the next three years, it’s expected to create 240 full-time manufacturing and administrative jobs. Pender County recruited the operation last fall, but Claiburn Watson, Pender County’s finance director, says the federal award means that ACME will be able to set up shop much more quickly than originally anticipated.
"We’re hoping that this will really jump-start the Pender Commerce Park, and that we’ll be adding additional facilities in the near future."
Claiburn says Pender County applied for these funds in the spring. The federal government makes this award available to areas hit particularly hard by the recession. Their investment is intended to help spur Pender County’s local economy, and attract new agri-business to the region.