State will get into effort to save Cooper plant - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

State will get into effort to save Cooper plant

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

November 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With help from the state, Albany hopes to keep the local Cooper Tire plant off the company's closure list.

The response to the 'I Love Cooper' campaign has been phenomenal. More than 100 bows have been placed throughout the community along with marquees and banners showing the company's support.

Friday, state officials said it made a big impression on Cooper Corporate leaders who were in from Findley yesterday to discuss the plant's future. The discussions centered around internal operations at the plant.

The signs of support are everywhere, from the marquees at Harvest Moon, The Exchange, and Dave's Computers, to mailboxes along Westgate Drive, and the Union Missionary Baptist Church near Albany State University.

"I've never seen the community as committed to pulling together for a company or a plant like they are this plant," says Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission Chairman.

It's also going to take the state and local economic development commissions working together to put together the best deal for Cooper Tire.

"The Georgia Department of Economic Development has been very engaged they've given us all the help they've got available," said Bob McKinney, Economic Development Commission Board V.P.

Including incentives local officials may not be aware of.  "I think we bring a level of knowledge to the process about some areas that we might suggest that you look in that might not have come up otherwise," said Heidi Green, Deputy Commissioner of Global Communications for the Georgia Economic Development Commission.

They've even got Governor Sonny Perdue involved, who called Cooper executives to explain what their business means to Georgia.

"This is a very business friendly state," Green said. "When Governor Perdue came into office, he passed, he worked with the General Assembly to pass the single factor proportionate rule, which is very, very important to companies like Cooper, because it means they basically, any of their sales outside the state of Georgia, they do not have to pay taxes on inside of Georgia."

Local officials are working on their own incentives like offering Cooper business by creating a contract for replacement tires for city and county vehicles. They say recent meetings have been encouraging and preparations will continue throughout the weekend leading up to next week's meeting at Cooper's Corporate headquarters in Findley, Ohio.

About a dozen, state and local officials, including Bobby McKinney, Jeff Sinyard, Mayor Willie Adams and other will make the trip Wednesday to Findlay, Ohio. They'll have until December first to finalize their proposal to Cooper.

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