CDBG grant helps Hazlehurst Employer rebuild

Beasley Forest Products: CDBG Grant Helps Hazlehurst Employer Rebuild

Often, the little things can make a big difference.

Hazlehurst, Georgia, population 4,226, is the county seat of Jeff Davis County and for many a pit stop along U.S. Highway 341 to the Golden Isles.

And it’s also home to Beasley Forest Products – a 40-year-old, family-owned Georgia business that processes hardwood timber into products such as railroad ties, flooring materials, and lumber for pallets and construction. Driving by, you might notice the unmistakable aroma of a southern sawmill, but you probably would not guess that the mill is the largest production hardwood sawmill in the United States – and one of the largest employers in Jeff Davis county. 

The company had been rapidly expanding and creating jobs for local workers, but then tragedy struck.  The company’s mill on U.S. Highway 341 suffered catastrophic damage during a fire that destroyed an entire building, five million board feet of finished hardwood lumber, and put at risk the jobs of 350 employees.

And while the fire did more than $20 million in damage, the company got employees back to work, in temporary space, in two days. 

But, determined not just to reopen and rebuild, Beasley made a commitment to expand operations and increase production capacity. 

That’s when DCA's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program came into play.  Water improvements were needed to provide the necessary fire protection.  A CDBG grant of $246,977 helped extend the water main and install eight fire hydrants, helping a long-time family business stay in operation, saving 350 jobs, and creating 44 new jobs.  That's 5.5 new jobs per hydrant.  

It's the little things...