City of Orange Fuels Business Boom with EDC Grants

in Government

The City of Orange is actively promoting business expansion and development through the Orange Economic Development Corporation (EDC) grants. Since the year 2020, city officials have invested nearly $5 million in these grants to attract and support new businesses within the community.

The EDC committee plays a pivotal role in distributing these grants, financed by a fraction of the city’s 8.25% sales tax revenue. The funds are primarily utilized to reimburse developers for crucial infrastructure expenses, making Orange unique in Orange County for its EDC initiatives.

According to Kelvin Knauf, the Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Orange, “Since December of 2020, there’s been 31 new businesses and developments that have received economic development cooperation grants.” These grants allow companies looking to establish themselves in Orange to cover upfront infrastructure costs, which are subsequently reimbursed by the city.

Knauf explained, “They assess the site to determine their preferred location and anticipate potential permanent expenses such as extending water and sewer lines, and drainage improvements.” Notably, 10 of these businesses have chosen to set up shop along North 16th Street, including a forthcoming Whataburger and Take 5 car wash.

Residents like Giron Hadnott, who was shopping at the new Dollar General nearby, express their support for these developments. Hadnott believes, “It’s good for the economy, it creates jobs, and it keeps the money rolling.”

Furthermore, the EDC grants have contributed to the creation of two new subdivisions, namely, Little Cypress Grove Residential and The Reserve at Mallard Lakes in the Little Cypress community. Knauf emphasized, “It re-develops areas that were kind of run down, increases property taxes, boosts sales taxes, and enhances the quality of life for our residents.”

As Orange witnesses these transformative changes, local residents like Hadnott see the broader benefits. “As long as you have improvement for the cities, not just here but Pinehurst, Bridge City, all those surrounding areas Little Cypress, everybody should be for it,” Hadnott affirmed.

According to Knauf, more projects are on the horizon for North 16th Street, with plans for a new retail shopping center called “The Shops of Orange” set to break ground in the near future. The City of Orange continues to pave the way for economic growth and development, showcasing its commitment to fostering a thriving community.

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