- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

OSCEOLA, Ark. (AP) - The Osceola City Council has agreed on the proposed sale of a vacant building to the German steel company SMS.

The council voted Thursday to sell the $12 million factory that was opened by German-based steel company Beckmann Volmer in 2011, The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1vm0ZNL ) reported. SMS would complement the Big River Steel mill that is expected to open in Osceola within the next few years. SMS expects to supply $600 million of steel mill equipment for Big River’s opening.

“Steel making equipment is extremely high maintenance, and SMS has special maintenance capabilities,” Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore said.

The city is now waiting on state officials in Little Rock to finalize the deal. Mississippi County has already approved the sale.

The building was originally built to complement Jonesboro’s Nordex wind turbine facility, but when the company left Jonesboro due to tax credit delays in Washington, D.C., Beckmann Volmer followed. The state, county and city all contributed funds for the construction of the building to bring Beckmann Volmer to the area.

Kennemore said that it would be impossible for the three to recoup the money lost, but creating jobs would be worth it.

“We’re willing to take that loss due to the jobs it will bring,” Kennemore said. “We’ll get a part of that money back, but any time you can get industry and jobs like this is much better.”

Osceola contributed $2 million, and Mississippi contributed $3 million. The state covered the remaining cost.

The Big River Steel mill is expected to provide about 500 jobs that pay above minimum wage.


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

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