The Shoals Economic Development Fund (SEDF) was formed in 2007 with the goal to further support development at the federal and state levels. The Shoals region is one of the only areas in the state that has a fund of this kind. The SEDF is designed to encourage and promote economic growth in Lauderdale and Colbert Counties.
Through the recommendation of the Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA) Board and the approval of the Shoals Industrial Development Committee (SIDC), funds can be made available for the inducement of new manufacturing, industrial related, research & development, and tech businesses and the expansion of existing industries within the Shoals. Reimbursement is calculated by an economic impact analysis based on the total capital expenditures and job creation.
One of the groups that evaluate SEDF applications, the SIDC, is comprised of the mayors of the four major cities in the region: Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, and Sheffield; a rotating mayoral seat for each county to be filled with a mayor from one of the smaller communities; one member of the Colbert County Commission; a member of the Florence City Council; and, two members of the Lauderdale County Commission.
As the SEDF currently stands, ineligible uses of the fund include:
- Inducement of any commercial or retail establishment to locate within either of the counties, any of the municipalities, or any other city or town located in either of the counties;
- Construction of any building for sale, lease, or other conveyance to, or use by, a commercial or retail establishment of any sort;
- Construction or operation of any shopping center or similar facility, any hotel or convention facility, any sports stadium or facility, any amusement or entertainment part or facility, or any comparable or similar commercial or retail facility.
Most applications for funding through the SEDF are not denied. The SEDA Board and SIDC will work together to offer an alternative solution to the request.
Through the SEDF, the following things are currently funded, in addition to projects:
- Shoals Industrial Parks are able to be owned and operated by one entity, SEDA. This streamlines most projects and makes them possible.
- Our community has been fortunate enough to construct 3 speculative buildings.
- The SIDC pledged $5M each to the University of North Alabama and Northwest Shoals Community College to further their workforce development efforts.
- SIDC provides the majority of the funding for SEDA's annual operations.
- The SIDC, through SEDA, funds the Employment Growth Program with $150,000 annually to distribute to our smaller businesses through the program.
The SEDF provides a unique funding mechanism to projects that make a positive impact on our economy, improve our quality of life, and really move the needle in our region. We believe there are many ways to reach the goal of job creation; it could be through workforce development, infrastructure improvements, new business announcements, or existing industry expansions. We believe the goal of the SIDC is to work with projects to find a way to fund their needs, and they are always willing to negotiate to help achieve this goal.