- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Economic Development Commission is providing $2 million for a new company to locate in a former wind turbine plant in Jonesboro.

The commission said Thursday that the money will help TrinityRail Maintenance Services Inc. convert the now-closed Nordex USA wind turbine plant for its processes. TrinityRail plans to spend $35 million to outfit and expand the facility.

Nordex opened in 2010 with the prospect of employing as many as 700 people. But the plant shuttered after only a few years, with company officials complaining that business dried up without congressional approval of a tax break for wind energy generation.

TrinityRail officials say the plant will meet an increasing demand among railroads to keep railcars running.

The company can spend the $2 million as it sees fit, though the Arkansas Economic Development Commission will monitor the company to see that it meets employment targets.

TrinityRail said the jobs will pay about $18 per hour and that it plans to hire between 75 and 100 people initially. Once the plant is up to speed, the company expects to have 350 workers.

Work to convert the plant is to begin in the fall and it’s expected to open in 2015, The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/SG0sn9 ) reported.

The company is an operating unit of TrinityRail Group LLC, and a subsidiary of Trinity Industries Inc.

AEDC Deputy Director Becky Thompson said at a Thursday meeting of the commission in Jonesboro that another new company in northeast Arkansas is also getting a state incentives package.

BlueOak Arkansas, which broke ground this week on a $35 million precious metals recycling plant in Osceola, is getting $3 million in venture capital from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.

Thompson said BlueOak looked at other locations before settling on Osceola, where the company plans to hire between 75 and 100 people.

“They looked in Little Rock,” Thompson said. “They looked at other places. They settled on Mississippi County.”

Bryan Scoggins, AEDC director of business finance, said BlueOak has developed a process that has reduced the cost of extracting gold and other metals from discarded computers and other electronics equipment.


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

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