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Ameren Community Development Corporation Announces First-Round Grant Recipients
The board of directors of the Ameren Community Development Corporation (AmerenCDC) announced today that it has awarded the initial $2.7 million of a total $9 million in funding for projects that create or retain nearly 2,300 jobs in Missouri, both directly and indirectly.

The 12 successful projects are all located within AmerenUE's 20,000-square- mile Missouri service territory, in compliance with the program's requirements. They represent a diverse group of businesses and civic organizations, including minority- and female-owned businesses.

Of the 12 grants, six awarded in the St. Louis Metropolitan area total $1.37 million, representing 1,000 jobs created or retained. The other six grants, totaling $1.33 million, are awarded to projects in central, northern and southeastern Missouri that create or retain almost 1,300 jobs. The projects will further leverage more than $54 million in new project investment.

The recipients in the first round of awards are:

Curators of University of Missouri-St. Louis\-technology incubator to support 12 start-up businesses St. Louis $530,000

City of Jefferson\-construction of rail spur to assist location of new manufacturing facility, Jefferson City,$400,000

SLCEC-Wellston Redevelopment\-gap funding to complete remediation and site preparation for Wellston Industrial Park, St. Louis County,$275,000

City of Gerald\-commitment to assist in the rehabilitation and construction of rail spurs to two local industries, Gerald, $250,000

Companion Bakehouse\-creation of community bakehouse in the City of St. Louis's Delmar Loop to respond to business growth, St. Louis, $250,000

Pauwels Transformers, Inc.\-plant expansion for manufacturing operation, Washington, $250,000

Iron County Commission\-establish critical access care hospital in Iron County, Pilot Knob, $200,000

NEMO Manufacturing\-assist business expansion of contract manufacturer of electronic circuit boards, LaGrange, $150,000

Technology Entrepreneur Center\-implement Phase II of information technology small business incubator, St. Louis, $140,000

St. Louis Development Corporation\-technical support for St. Louis Small Business Lending and Management Assistance Program, St. Louis, $100,000

City of Park Hills\-replace aging railroad line serving an existing manufacturing facility, Park Hills, $80,000

Ranken Technical College\-affordable hojmebuilding program to support Ranken's Carpentry Education program, St. Louis, $75,000

Created with the 2002 completion of a joint settlement of a rate case between AmerenUE and the Missouri Public Service Commission staff, the AmerenCDC is dedicated to addressing critical economic development initiatives in the state. It is Missouri's first utility-based economic development company to operate exclusively across AmerenUE's retail electric service area in Missouri.

The Ameren CDC is managed, supervised and controlled by its board of directors, who were selected by a collaborative process between former Missouri Governor Bob Holden, the Missouri Public Service Commission and AmerenUE.

The board made its final decisions based on each applicant's ability to stimulate community and economic development, resulting in community revitalization and the creation or retention of jobs.

"The board did an outstanding job of reviewing more than 160 applications over the past year to identify those that have the greatest potential for job creation in our state," Gov. Matt Blunt said. "The members of the board are to be commended for their dedication to ensuring that this process was conducted as fairly and transparently as possible."

"At Ameren, we define our success by the success of the communities we serve," said Ameren Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Rainwater. "It has been a pleasure to work with the Office of the Governor, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Public Service Commission in developing this unique program that will support economic development in the state for years to come."

Ameren made an up-front contribution of $5 million to the CDC in September 2002. An additional $1 million contribution was made in 2003 and 2004. The company will fund an additional $1 million in each of the following two years of the plan, bringing the total amount to $9 million to fulfill the commitments of the rate-case settlement.

Applications are now available to individuals and groups for the next round of grants from the "AmerenCDC" link on Ameren's Web site, www.ameren.com, by e- mail at eddept@ameren.com, or by phone at 800.981.9409. Completed applications must be postmarked by May 15, 2005. A third grant cycle is scheduled to begin Aug. 1, 2005.

Community development corporations have been used as economic development tools dating back to the mid-1970s. Today, they are used to stimulate economic development, housing, redevelopment and commercial revitalization in communities.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development has been instrumental in establishing several community-based CDCs to leverage state and federal funding resources for the benefit of communities. By covering AmerenUE's 65-county Missouri service area, the AmerenCDC offers broad geographic distribution and increased project activity.

With assets of $18 billion, Ameren owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in its Midwest market with a capacity of more than 14,800 megawatts. Ameren serves 2.3 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000 square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.


Project Name: Information Technology Incubator
Company/Agency: Curators-University of Missouri-St. Louis
Project Location: Normandy, MO
Grant Award: $530,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 500

Project Summary
This project will help establish an information technology incubator to house 12 start-up companies adjacent to the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The project is designed to help facilitate the technology transfer process from university research into start-up companies and to provide support infrastructure to entrepreneurs.

The project is expected to bring business growth to a significantly depressed community and to use the research capacity at the university for growth in the technology sector.

Project Name: Wellston Industrial Park Redevelopment
Company/Agency: St. Louis County Economic Council
Project Location: Wellston, MO
Grant Award: $275,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 230

Project Summary
Financial support for this project will fund ongoing remediation and site preparation for the Wellston Industrial Park. The former 24-acre site includes the former Abex Foundry and 12 acres once used as residential space. The plan is to remediate and reassemble land in two- to five-acre parcels for light industrial use.

The requested funds will be used to provide gaps in project financing needed to complete environmental remediation of the Abex Foundry site and to help fund site preparation activities, such as demolition and site clearing, making way for usable space.

Project Name: Companion Loop Community Bake House
Company/Agency: Companion Bake House
Project Location: St. Louis, MO
Grant Award: $250,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 78

Project Summary
Companion Loop Community Bake House is a small, craft-baking operation in operation for 10 years in south St. Louis. The company proposes to operate a new bake-house facility in the city of St. Louis, near the Delmar Loop area. The expanded operations are designed to assist in growth through wholesale production/distribution and also to provide additional retail space.

The company is moving out of existing wholesale operations facility in south St. Louis because it is no longer suitable for business expansion and diversification. The new facility will enhance efficiency and opportunity for product diversification. The city of St. Louis and the St. Louis Development Corporation support this expansion and are active partners in project financing.

AmerenCDC funds are expected to be used for new equipment purchases for wholesale production\-including ovens, flour silos, and other equipment.

Project Name: TEC Phase 2 Expansion
Company/Agency: Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC)
Project Location: St. Louis, MO
Grant Award: $140,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 60

Project Summary
This project involves expansion of an existing technology center to assist information technology start-up businesses in downtown St. Louis. AmerenCDC funds will be used to build out 10,000 square feet on the north side of the 6th floor of the Bandwidth Exchange Building in downtown St. Louis. This expansion will meet the needs of three new companies and provides rough space for additional companies in the near future. Other funds will be used to build out 10,000 square feet on the south side of the 6th floor to accommodate the facility's common areas (including office space and a conference room).

Project Name: Small Business Lending and Management Association
Company/Agency: St. Louis Development Corporation
Project Location: St. Louis, MO *Program designed for entire city
Grant Award: $100,000
Jobs Created/Retained: 500

Project Summary
This program is designed to support start-up small businesses throughout the city of St. Louis by combining funding resources (in the form of low-interest loans) with "hands-on" technical support services. The AmerenCDC grant will offset costs associated with providing technical services to small business clients working with the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). A revolving loan program will be established and funded by the SLDC, with additional leveraged resources from local and regional banking institutions. The AmerenCDC grant will go to the SLDC to help cover the costs of technical support services to client businesses. The goal of the program is to increase the number of clients who will become certified as minority-owned businesses and to help develop these individual businesses in the city of St. Louis.

Project Name: North City Revitalization Homes
Company/Agency: Ranken Technical College
Project Location: St. Louis, MO
Grant Award: $75,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 97

Project Summary
The Ranken Community Development Corp. through Ranken Technical College, is continuing its revitalization initiatives in North St. Louis by building affordable housing. The project calls for the construction of three new homes using materials and labor provided by Ranken's Carpentry Education Program. In addition to assisting neighborhood revitalization, the program gives students carpentry skills\-which are in great demand. Students with these skills are more likely to receive job offers upon graduation. AmerenCDC funds will be used to offset material costs and to fill financing gaps in the transfer of properties. The Ranken Community Development Corporation was established to provide construction financing, with the owner responsible for securing private bank financing upon completion of the project. This project is coordinated with the city of St. Louis.


Project Name: Alpla Rail Spur Extension
Company/Agency: City of Jefferson City
Project Location: Jefferson City, MO
Grant Award: $400,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 50

Project Summary
This project would build a rail spur to assist in the location of a new manufacturing facility for Alpla, Inc., a plastic packaging company considering construction of a 78,000-square-foot building with an initial investment in land, building and equipment of $16.5 million. Due to the unexpected need for additional crossings, safety signals and compliance with all rail construction standards enforced by the Union Pacific Railroad, AmerenCDC funding will be used to help offset rail spur construction costs for the new business location.

Project Name: Railroad Expansion Project
Company/Agency: City of Gerald
Project Location: Gerald, MO
Grant Award: $250,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 312

Project Summary
The Gerald Railroad Expansion Project is designed to provide the city of Gerald and local industries with access to a nationwide freight railway system by extending the Central Midland Railroad from Union to Gerald. Existing tracks have been out of service for more than 10 years. The proposed project seeks to rebuild tracks and construct rail spur service to two existing industries. Potential rail spur users include Bull Moose Company (the area's largest employer, with 300 jobs) and MFA (a grain operator). Rehabilitation of the rail to Class I designation would cost $792,000. (An alternative option based on industrial requirements would cost $492,000). AmerenCDC funding commitments serve as an effective tool to help secure additional funding from other sources.

Project Name: Power Transformer Project
Company/Agency: Pauwels Transformers, Inc.
Project Location: Washington, MO
Grant Award: $250,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 78

Project Summary
This funding goes toward the business expansion of Pauwels Transformers, Inc. , manufacturer of small power transformers. To open up new market opportunities and to respond to demand, the company will produce a unique stacked type small power transformer product. The largest competitor in this market is based in Mississippi (no existing competitors in this market are located in Missouri).

Project Name: Critical Access Hospital
Company/Agency: Iron County Commission
Project Location: Pilot Knob, MO
Grant Award: $200,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 170

Project Summary
Construction of a Critical Access Hospital in Pilot Knob will provide needed health care services to Iron County, including the cities of Annapolis, Arcadia, Ironton, and Pilot Knob, as well as portions of the surrounding counties of Washington, St. Francois, Reynolds and Madison. Improved access to health care should help relieve existing workers' compensation disparities for local area employers.

Project Name: Business Expansion
Company/Agency: NEMO Manufacturing
Project Location: LaGrange, MO
Grant Award: $150,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 21

Project Summary
These funds will help a LaGrange-based contract manufacturer of electronic circuit boards expand business operations through the purchase of new equipment to facilitate increases in manufacturing production. This project involves the purchase of new equipment to provide redundancy in operations, increase production and fulfill customers' delivery requirements. To assist in this expansion, NEMO has successfully secured support from the city of LaGrange through a federal grant for infrastructure expansion and through the Missouri Division of Workforce Development to provide additional employee training resources.

Project Name: Industrial Park Rail Line Replacement
Company/Agency: City of Park Hills
Project Location: Park Hills, MO
Grant Award: $80,000
Jobs Created or Retained: 660

Project Summary
The Glass Group, Inc. is considering expansion of its existing facility to meet demand for specialty glass products. Access to silica by rail is a critical factor for glass production and can result in major operational savings. The city of Park Hills is working with the company to relocate existing rails to reduce steel costs and overall project costs. Improved rail infrastructure is expected to be a key resource to the economic vitality of the city and region.