ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) is being honored with the 2021 “Community Economic Development Award for Innovativeness” by the Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) for its work in attracting Great Lakes Cheese (GLC) to Abilene.

According to the DCOA, this is the most significant economic win in their 30-year history. The prize: a state-of-the-art cheese packaging and distribution facility in the DCOA’s Access Business Park, boasting a 286,500 square-foot facility and a budget of $184.5 million.

In addition to its approved funding, the project will be enhanced with a Veteran’s Fund and a Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant from the office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Misty Mayo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the DCOA, says approvals did not come easily, as Abilene faced great obstacles.

“Our approach was innovative, bold and direct, which ultimately proved why Abilene was the place for GLC’s long-term investment. This award represents our commitment to the community, and our community’s dedication to growth,” Mayo says.

Nominees were judged on five criteria: innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives, and secondary benefits.

Abilene was chosen out of 55 applications to the Community Economic Development Award committee.