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Land of Opportunity

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A trio of business deals, aided by more than $1.1 million in government incentives, could bring 700 jobs to Lincoln County in the next two years. County commissiioners approved the incentive grants Monday, after learning of the potential $50 million in investment through the three projects. Cash would go to companies over five years, provided they meet the county’s investment and job creation requirements. Furniture maker RSI, the county’s largest industrial employer, plans to expand in the Lincoln County Industrial Park. The average pay for new jobs would be $9 an hour. GE Security plans to occupy a new shell building in the park, while SecureCoat International would open an operation in another building not yet built. The average pay for those new jobs would be $12 an hour. None of the deals are final, said Barry Matherly, executive director of LEDA. Matherly asked commissioners to approve the incentives Monday. Although the three companies have guaranteed only 450 jobs total, Matherly said their plans call for 700. RSI would add the most, 400 after expanding its 400,000 sq. ft. plant to 700,000. The Keith Corp which owns the RSI building would expand the plant. The Keith Corp also owns the building that would house GE Security and would build the SecureCoat building. Other than their location in the roughly 550 acre industrial park, the three projects aren’t connected. The 700 new jobs would bring the total jobs in the park to about 2,500 – up from only 35 in 2000. Other park tenants that have expanded in recent months include Crate&Barrel and Cataler North America. Despite the surge in opportunities, Matherly said he isn’t worried about running out of candidates for new jobs. “The majority of the labor force leaves the county every day for a job,” he said, “That is a lot of people that we would like to work closer to home.”

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