Development Authority OKs money for projects

The Development Authority of Richmond County on Thursday approved a bond inducement for Augusta Newsprint, the first step in selling bonds for an expansion project.

The resolution is for $55 million for use in upgrading equipment and expanding its facilities on Doug Barnard Parkway.

According to the company's attorney, Byrd Warlick, the company is making improvements to keep the plant in efficient working order.

"It's a highly competitive business, and it's contracting," Warlick said of the newsprint business. "With this bond issue, we can improve the plant and keep the jobs here in Augusta, with potential to add more in the future."

Augusta Newsprint employs 326 people.

"They're making a commitment to Augusta," said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the development authority.

Abitibi Bowater, which owns Augusta Newsprint, produces a range of products, including newsprint, commercial printing papers, market pulp and wood products. The company owns or operates 18 pulp and paper mills and 24 wood products facilities in the U.S., Canada and South Korea.

Also Thursday, the authority approved a $12 million bond resolution for Bennett International. The money is designated for purchasing a 26-acre tract on Doug Barnard Parkway, where Bennett plans to build a distribution center and warehouse.

Bennett is a transportation logistics services company based in McDonough, Ga. The new facility could create as many as 15 jobs.

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