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Officials: 80% of Industrial Job Expansion Comes from Existing Factories

09.03.18 10:49 AM – Andy McDonald
Take care of the industries you have, and good things are sure to follow, including the creation of new jobs.

That was just one of the messages from Richmond Industrial Development Corporation Director David Stipes when he recently addressed a work session of the Richmond City Commission.

While cities are always looking for new industrial recruiting opportunities, local officials say most job creation stems from building on factories already in town. “What’s interesting is over 80 percent of new industrial jobs come from existing industry,” Richmond City Manager Rob Minerich told commission members. “So, it’s important to take care of what we have, because those companies, if they’re successful, are going to expand.”

Stipes asserted that point during his presentation, citing the case with Asahi Forge of America, which already has two plants in Phase III of the Richmond Industrial Park. Last November, Asahi purchased an additional 30 acres to build a third facility that will house office space, machining, and forging operations.

Asahi Forge already has two plants in Richmond. The company bought land last year to build a third. Richmond is building upon infrastructure in the industrial park to encourage continued growth and job creation.

A key to keeping that momentum going, according to Stipes, is to ensure infrastructure is in place and ready for a prospective industrial client. Stipes asked the commission to support the construction of a 12-inch water pipeline extending 3,300 feet into Phase III with the idea of making 45 acres of industrial property more attractive and construction ready for buyers. The cost of the water line will be over $421,000, though the City of Richmond’s share will be $91,000 after intergovernmental grants are factored in.

Stipes said that kind of investment, along with keeping communication open with local industries to anticipate their needs could be a key factor in drawing more industrial jobs to Richmond and Madison County. “We know that the existing plants that we’ve got grow and expand, but they have suppliers and customers in plants in other places,” Stipes said. “And if they are saying good things about Richmond and Madison County, the more likely they’re going to be a good source of contacts for us [to prospective industrial clients].”

Richmond has seen plant expansions at Asahi Bluegrass and Thunder Manufacturing, according to Stipes, but there has also been plant expansion and job growth in Berea.

The City of Berea has been aggressive in working with local industries, trying to anticipate their needs to promote economic development. Berea has seen that development in the form of two plant expansions, including Novelis Corporation.

The City of Berea has also pursued a policy of maintaining infrastructure in its industrial park, including Mayde Road reconstruction, Menelaus Pike reconstruction, and two major projects to extend sewer lines to the industrial park. The city has also pitched in to support further development of the Central Kentucky Regional Airport, formerly known as Madison County Airport. Additionally, like Richmond, Berea has pursued a policy of maintaining communication with manufacturing companies, gauging their infrastructure needs.

So far, officials at two of Berea’s companies have cited a positive partnership with the City of Berea as a strong factors in their decision to expand in town. Last year, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc. added onto its physical plant, while Novelis Corporation also celebrated the expansion of its operation and the creation of new jobs.

Last year, Berea city officials were invited to a celebration of the partnership between Hitachi and the City of Berea after Hitachi began plans to significantly expand its physical plant.
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