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Kentucky gives new business projects $17M in incentives

Last updated on May 29, 2021

Kentucky officials have announced four business projects that would bring more than $270 million in investments and create more than 500 jobs.

Each project received preliminary approval for incentives during the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority meeting.

In a video statement posted on Twitter late Thursday afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear said the announcements come on the heels of Amazon’s decision to add another 2,000 jobs at its facilities in northern Kentucky.

“Our economy is set for liftoff,” the governor said. “Buckle up, Kentucky. We’re going places.”

Firestone Industrial Products Co. LLC said it plans to create 250 full-time jobs at its automotive air springs manufacturing plant in Williamsburg in southeastern Kentucky. The company, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Inc., would add nearly 70,000 square feet of space to its existing 375,000-square-foot plant as part of the nearly $51 million expansion.

More than 500 workers are employed at the plant, which makes about 4 million parts annually.

Emily Poladian, the company’s president, said increases in vehicle electrification is spurring demand for Firestone’s products.

“Compared to traditional coil spring suspensions, our air suspensions are designed to help improve the handling and comfort of heavier electric vehicles and can even help improve EV range by lowering the vehicle to help improve aerodynamics,” Poladian said. “Advanced air suspensions are increasingly a ‘must-have’ technology on premium electric vehicles, and Firestone is committed to maintaining its leadership in this exciting and important market.”

Work on the project is expected to be finished by end of next year.

State officials approved Firestone for up to $6.5 million in tax incentives over 15 years. The incentives are based on the company meeting investment targets as well as creating and maintaining 250 full-time jobs for Kentucky workers with an average wage and benefit package of $29 an hour.

Kruger Packaging plans to operate a 400,000-square-foot facility in Elizabethtown that would be the Canadian company’s first corrugated box plant in the U.S.

The $114.2 million project would create 147 jobs with an average hourly wage of $32.50 with benefits.

Greg Pawley, chairman of the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, said the group’s main focus has been on bringing good-paying jobs to the community of more than 100,000 people in central Kentucky.

“The announcement of Kruger Packaging’s new facility in Elizabethtown is a major step toward that goal and will have an enormous impact on our region,” he said.

KEDFA approved Kruger for nearly $3.5 million in incentives over 10 years based on the investment and job creation targets.

The authority also approved incentives for Wieland North America Inc. to build a $100 million copper recycling plant in Shelby County.

The company announced earlier this year its North American headquarters would be built in Louisville.

The recycling plant would be built on a nearly 80-acre plot in Shelbyville, which is located 30 miles east of Louisville. It would employ 75 workers with an average wage of $30 an hour, including benefits.

Officials expect to start on the project in October with completion slated by the end of next year.

“As a 200-year-old company highly focused on long-term business sustainability, we intend to make positive impacts here for many years to come,” said Matt Bedingfield, recycling president for Wieland North American a senior vice president of global metal procurement for parent company Wieland Group. “The launch of our new recycling facility provides us with an opportunity to work alongside our current and future suppliers to find new ways to create value together.”

Wieland received approval for up to $6 million in incentives over 15 years.

Jackson Purchase Distillery has plans for an $8.8 million facility in Hickman near the Tennessee state line in southwestern Kentucky.

The company bought an unused distilling plant earlier this year and plans to buy more land to accommodate for barrel storage and other needs. It plans to hire 30 employees, including a master distiller, a distiller in residence and an assistant distiller.

The average wage would be $37 an hour, including benefits.

Company executives expect the expansion project to be completed within a year, and once up and running, the distillery will make more than 25,000 barrels of bourbon and other whiskey products annually.

“We have been most fortunate to acquire the distillery and begin upgrading the facility,” said Lloyd Jones, president of the distillery. “Support from the distillery industry and Commonwealth of Kentucky has been extremely helpful. We look forward to the start of production and hope to grow the business with a long-term plan in the years ahead.”

KEDFA approved the company for up to $1 million in incentives over 15 years contingent on the company meeting investment and job goals.

This article was originally posted on Kentucky gives new business projects $17M in incentives

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