Vidalia rubber plant will mean 130 jobs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

VIDALIA &045;&045; A rubber plant has committed to locate in the Vidalia Industrial Park, bringing 130 jobs within three years of opening.

According to Ferriday Mayor and Concordia Economic and Development District Chairman Glen McGlothin, TXEL, a company that processes rubber waste for rubber products, has committed to bring their $15 million project to Vidalia.

McGlothin; Teresa Dennis, executive director of the Economic and Development District; Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland; and state Rep. Bryant Hammett, D-Ferriday, met with Gov. Kathleen Blanco, some of her staff members; Mike Wells, president and CEO of TXEL; and Tommy Ferrara, financial officer of TXEL, in Baton Rouge on Tuesday.

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As a result of what McGlothin called a &uot;great meeting,&uot; the project has $4.5 million in commitments from the state, including the Department of Environmental Quality and funds from capital outlay and Community Development Block Grants.

&uot;The governor told (her staff) to do whatever they can do,&uot; McGlothin said.

McGlothin said within the first 15 minutes of the meeting, Blanco said, &uot;let’s make this happen.&uot;

All of the money from the state will be used for infrastructure &045;&045; the building and site preparation.

Initially the plant, which will reclaim tires to put the rubber back into its original state to be reused, will provide 55 to 60 jobs, increasing that number to 130 in three years, McGlothin said.

TXEL will utilize the Mississippi River to ship tires into plant, which involves the port project Vidalia has been working to make happen.

McGlothin said everything &uot;looks good&uot; for Vidalia to get the loading and unloading facility.

&uot;Once you get through the front door, you get a chance to actually file an application,&uot; McGlothin said.

TXEL, which has a plant in Milwaukee, Wis., and is planning to build another in Texas, turns rubber back into a product that can be used to make items such as brake pedals for vehicles or tennis shoes.

The company is looking to get financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The plant also will save the state money since it spends millions on reclaiming tires each year and cannot put the tires in landfills, McGlothin said. Now, the state can just reuse them via TXEL.

McGlothin said the best the parish can hope for is for the company to begin construction of the 100,000-square-foot building in about six months.

McGlothin also said he hopes this company can spin off other industrial locations for the parish, which he said will be good for the whole Miss-Lou.

&uot;Anything in the parish is good for any town in the parish and even for Adams County,&uot; McGlothin said.

Dennis and Copeland could not be reached for comment before press time.