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Aviation Parts Manufacturer Receiving Stimulus Funds

Jason Crawford A Santa Clarita designer and producer of aircraft parts could be the first to benefit from the city’s “Recovery Zone” federal stimulus funds, providing the company with financing to expand and create future jobs. Meanwhile, the city passed a resolution to award five businesses with a stimulus grant for going green. On June 22, Santa Clarita’s City Council approved the allocation of nearly $13.3 million in low-interest loan funding to Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc. through the issuance of Recovery Zone Facility Bonds. The tax-exempt revenue bonds are set to be issued by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority as long as other components of the multi-step funding process fall into place, city staff said. Through the approval, all the federal stimulus funds made available for the city will be used for the company. City Council approved a “Recovery Zone” for Santa Clarita in October in order to access the bonds, which are designed to provide financing to businesses for economic development projects. “The benefit of this program is that it allowed businesses that currently could not access these tax-exempt bonds to have this opportunity,” said Denise Lellan, an administrative analyst for the city’s economic development division. “There’s a limited time in which you could participate in the program. So we had to make sure the project was really-shovel-ready and ready to move forward.” The Santa Clarita-based aerospace business, which services companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, also applied for about $7 million in additional Recovery Zone funding, which comes from an extra pool of unused funds. The city also decided to publicly support the request for additional funds for the business. Creating jobs Aerospace Dynamics International plans to use the loan funds to construct a 10,000-square-foot building to be used in aircraft design and production. The new site will be located at 25575 Rye Canyon Road. The expansion is expected to create about 200 additional jobs. The company, which is one of Santa Clarita Valley’s largest employers, already provides more than 400 job opportunities, according to city documents. “(Aerospace Dynamics International) really had a good project,” Lellan said. “It has phenomenal community benefit. We liked the project and we felt it was a good use of funds, and it definitely fell in line with that the Recovery Act wanted to do, which is job creation.” While other businesses initially showed interest in the zone funding, they eventually pulled their applications, leaving Aerospace Dynamics as the only viable candidate, Lellan said. The jobs created by the project are projected to include a variety of positions from managerial to skilled manufacturing. The average annual wage of the positions is expected to be about $65,000, said Jason Crawford, the city’s marketing and economic development manager. While the company is still waiting for other approvals to be made before the funding is guaranteed, they are hoping to move the process along quickly. “They’re expecting everything to be locked into place and everything moving ahead this year,” Crawford said. Green growth Santa Clarita’s City Council also recently awarded five businesses with funding from government grants to help them improve their sustainability through the city’s Green Energy Incentive Program. Lundgren Management, Tourney Road Partners, Bestway Auto and Truck Rental Sales and Leasing and Blue Skies Energy are set to receive $25,000 each. Toyama and Associates will receive $9,936.16 each. Projects the grants will help fund include tthe installaion of a photovoltaic solar systems, covered parking structures and Light Emitting Diode solar-powered parking lot lights. The projects also include the conversion of a company vehicle to use compressed natural gas and the setup of a showroom for energy savings and clean generation products. The grant program, which had made $296,793 available to businesses, was launched in March as part of the city’s 21-Point Business Plan for Progress. Funding for the program comes from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, as outlined by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Businesses using local vendors for their projects qualify for 75 percent cost coverage by the city, up to a certain threshold. Businesses not using local vendors qualify for up to 50 percent of project cost coverage. The program is being continued until Nov. 30, or until all the funds are used.

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