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Sunbelt Forest Ventures to open sawmill in South Dallas Industrial Park

Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority (EDA) executive director Wayne Vardaman announced on Thursday that Sunbelt Forest Ventures is locating a sawmill in the South Dallas Industrial Park on 50 acres with a total capital investment in more than $20 million.

The project plans to initially create 28 jobs and in the second-year increase to 52 jobs working two shifts. The average hourly wage is expected to be $13.55.

Vardaman said the EDA coordinated meetings with representatives of the Alabama Departments of Commerce, Revenue, Environmental Management and Industrial Development Training in locating the new facility.

“The State of Alabama through Gov. Kay Ivey’s office, the Dallas County Commission and Pioneer Electric Cooperative assisted the EDA in bringing this project to fruition,” said Vardaman. “I am excited that Sunbelt is locating a high-tech sawmill in Dallas County.”

This is a non-traditional sawmill targeting logs suitable to manufacture components for pallets. A primary customer for the mills production will be PalletOne, the nation’s largest manufacturer of pallets.

PalletOne has operated a pallet manufacturing plant in Selma since 2006.

It takes around 5 billion board feet of lumber to supply the nation’s pallet production requirements. The Sunbelt Forest Ventures Mill will play an important part for pallet lumber.

“Dallas and the surrounding counties have a very good wood basket and will have no problem supplying the needed timber,” said Vardaman.

PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace said he is excited to have the mill come to the Dallas County market.

“We are excited about it, and we have some partners that came from Europe with some existing sawmill technology that will allow us to make pallet lumber,” said Wallace. “That is an underserved market right now. It is a little different operation, but we need to continue to supply the plant. We traveled around, and we took these guys from Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama and ended up in Louisiana.

“They had been to Texas on their own,” said Wallace. “After I learned more about how we could partner with them, and we figured we had enough land in this industrial park to get them going. We worked industrial development for a long time, and we have had a great experience here. PalletOne, in addition to our pallet operation, we have two treating locations in Athens and another in Louisville.

“We have had tremendous experience in Alabama molding people here into a team, and we are confident we will be able to do that well here as well,” said Wallace.

“This is a great day for Selma and Dallas County,” said Valerie Reubin, Dallas County District 1 Commissioner. “I think this the third announcement I have been part of this year. Great things are coming to the area, and we want to keep it going with more.”

“This is an investment in the people of Dallas County,” said Selma Mayor Darrio Melton. “Yes, it is a company, but the company is investing in the people. We are excited that value has been added to the area. More people can feed families because of what you are doing.”