Gov. Robert Bentley announced  Two Rivers Lumber Co. plans to invest $65 million to build a state-of-the-art sawmill in Demopolis that will create 55 jobs initially and a total of 95 eventually.

“I am committed to helping the rural areas of the great state of Alabama become more prosperous through business growth and the creation of new jobs,” Bentley said. “This investment from Two Rivers Lumber Co. will provide well-paying jobs to Alabama citizens and drive economic growth in Marengo County. Our partnership with the company perfectly aligns with the goals we’ve set to help the state’s rural counties.”

Two Rivers Lumber is a new operation, and this is the company’s first mill. The new mill will be built just south of where the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers meet, inspiring the company’s name. Two Rivers plans to produce all sizes of Southern yellow pine dimensional lumber and market it throughout the United States.

“We are excited about building a new sawmill in west Alabama and what it will mean to local land owners as well as bringing quality manufacturing jobs to the area,” said Jay McElroy, a principal in Two Rivers. “Planning began over a year ago and this project would not be possible without support from the City of Demopolis, the State of Alabama, and our lender, Alabama Ag Credit.

“We have a long family history in the area, with all our businesses being tied to the Southern yellow pine,” McElroy continued. “We are very pleased to continue this tradition.”

Two Rivers Lumber Co. is expected to provide 55 jobs when it opens next year and a total of 95 eventually. (iStock)

Two Rivers Lumber Co. is expected to provide 55 jobs when it opens next year and a total of 95 eventually. (iStock)

Two Rivers has contracted with Bid Group to design and build the sawmill. The mill will have an annual capacity of 200 million board feet. Construction is slated to begin in January 2017, with mill production expected to begin in September 2017.

The company said it expects the mill will create many indirect jobs in the forest products industry to support the operation.

Two Rivers’ new sawmill will be in Marengo County, one of Alabama’s so-called “Targeted Counties” under incentives legislation adopted in 2015, meaning the project is eligible for an enhanced benefit for job creation. These counties have fewer than 25,000 residents.

“The state-of-the-art sawmill being planned by Two Rivers Lumber Co. is precisely the kind of project we had in mind when the Legislature approved enhanced incentives for companies making investments and creating jobs in ‘Targeted Counties’ across Alabama,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Rural counties face a unique set of obstacles when it comes to economic development, and we think this approach gives them a new tool when pursuing projects,” he said.

More information about the project can be found at the Two Rivers Lumber website as it becomes available.