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$560 million investment by Morgan industries
New, expanding companies added 317 jobs in 2006

By Eric Fleischauer · 340-2435

The 15-minute annual meeting of the Morgan County Economic Development Association was short in time, but featured significant numbers.

In the last year, Chairman Lynn Fowler told an audience Thursday, new and expanding industries have invested $560 million in the county and added 317 jobs.

“We’ve had a good year,” Fowler said, “although it’s been spoiled a bit by the Wolverine announcement.”

Wolverine Tube announced Tuesday that it will close its 500-employee plant Jan. 6.

“Our thoughts are with the employees,” Fowler said.

He said EDA will look for ways to turn the bad news into a benefit for the area economy.

“We’ll try to find ways to make it a plus as we look for opportunities for the facility,” Fowler said.

Working with Wolverine

After the meeting he said he hopes to work with Wolverine officials to market the 270 acres of riverfront property in a way that would maximize the economic benefit to the area. The most likely use, he said, is another industry that needs the river for transport.

Robert Peck, a longtime member of the EDA board, was honored for his service. He previously announced his intent to retire from the board.

Upon receiving the accolades, Peck — known for his economy of words — said, “Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.”

“That’s more than I’ve heard him say in 12 years,” quipped Fowler.

Fowler said most of the jobs created in the last year were from expansions. Three new industries located in Morgan County during the year, he said.

Among the companies making substantial investments:

  • Modern Muzzleloading located a $650,000 facility in Decatur. It will employ 95.

  • AlphaPet Inc., a subsidiary of Indorama Polymers of Thailand, announced it will open a factory that manufactures a resin used in soft drink bottles. The plant, expected to open in late 2008, will cost $160.6 million and will employ 100 people.

  • 3M Co. announced a $96 million expansion that will create 20 jobs.

  • Hyosung USA, which purchased the Goodyear plant, added 20 jobs.

  • Independence Tube announced an $11.5 million expansion that will create 29 jobs.

  • Micor Industries added 16 jobs with a $2.2 million expansion.

  • Nucor Steel announced a $16.8 million expansion.

  • Toray Carbon Fibers is investing $210.2 million in an expansion that will create 60 jobs.

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