So far, 2007 is off to a great start for Melbourne.
The Melbourne Industrial Development Commission recently received approval for a $400,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Economic Development that will be used for improvements to the former Boeing Plant.
In October 2006 Melbourne announced that Batesville based company, Bad Boy Mowers, had agreed to a 10-year lease with an option to buy the building.
"Back when (the city) acquired the building, we noticed some things that would need improvement," said Melbourne Mayor Mike Cone. "This grant will be for those improvements and repairs."
Cone said Melbourne is fortunate because the city turned the application in at the end of the 2006 year. "Around the first of December, I spoke with the ADED to see if they would entertain the idea of a grant," he said. "The timing was good; it was approved pretty quick."
Building renovations will include the installation of new air conditioning systems over the office areas, replacing the ceiling with fiberglass insulation and resurfacing the parking lot, according to Cone.
"Within 90 days we hope to get the bids out and get the repairs started," he said.
Bad Boy Mowers has hired 12 people from the Melbourne area and will hire more within Izard County, according to Bad Boy Mowers co-owner Robert Foster.
As of right now there is not an exact date for when the company will move in and begin manufacturing their new multi-terrain vehicles. However, the company does estimate that it will be early-to-mid 2008 when production begins.