Industrial park helped pull in plant

By Jean Verlich: CNJ news editor

Clovis officials knew if they built the Clovis Industrial Park, businesses would come.

The city’s nabbing of an $80 million biodiesel plant proves it, according to Clovis Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Chase Gentry. He said the park is a major reason Clovis beat out four other New Mexico communities for the American Renewable Fuels biodiesel plant.

“We have an industrial park with land that’s ready to go,” Gentry said.

He also attributed the region’s rail service and community’s progressive personality as key to convincing the company to locate here.

“They saw how we worked with Southwest Cheese,” Gentry said, adding that the city “used them as a testament” of its experience in successful business development.

“They know that we can deliver,” Gentry said.

The wooing began last fall when CIDC responded to a potential recruitment opportunity from the New Mexico Economic Development Partnership, Gentry said.
Company officials made site visits and talked to officials from the communities they were considering, he said.

The experience working with the cheese plant certainly helped, Gentry said.

“(The Southwest Cheese plant) put us on the map as a player in economic development,” he said.

He believes the synergy with city and county officials also helped.
New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans echoed Gentry’s comments.

“It’s a very professional approach from the community,” Homans said.
He called Clovis’ rail service “a very important and valuable asset,” and noted the importance of the Clovis-Portales microplex in attracting what he said will be the country’s second largest biodiesel plant.

“As a state we want to be known for all kinds of renewable energy production,” Homans said. “Clovis is playing a very important role in developing this for the state.”

• The state and city provided incentives to American Renewable Fuels to locate in Clovis. State incentives based on employment and investment estimates total nearly $6 million, according to state spokeswoman Melissa Milam. She said the incentives include the Job Training Incentive Program, high wage jobs tax credit, rural jobs tax credit and manufacturing investment tax credit.

• Clovis and Clovis Industrial Development Corp., which jointly own the Clovis Industrial Park, are donating 20 acres of land at the park, according to Chase Gentry, CIDC executive director.

• In addition, about $3.2 million has been requested in capital outlay funds from the Legislature for infrastructure
improvement, Milam and Gentry said.

Compiled by Jean Verlich, CNJ News Editor