Cooper considers which plant to close - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cooper considers which plant to close

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

November 14, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Local Economic Development leaders are back in Albany after a trip to Cooper Tire Corporate Headquarters in Findlay, Ohio.

They've got two weeks to finalize their incentive offer to keep Cooper manufacturing tires in Albany. 

While local and state economic development leaders pitched the positives to keeping Cooper Tire's Albany plant open, they also had their ears open to what Cooper's capacity study leaders in Findlay, Ohio had to say.

 "We also needed to know what additional information they would like, what additional details that they would give us to help us make a better presentation," says EDC Board Vice Chairman Bobby McKinney.      

Both local and state economic development leaders say there are things they can do to directly impact the plant and they're in the process of measuring those capabilities and nothing will be left out.

"Nothing is off the table, whether it's water, sewage, power, whether it's Quickstart, whether it's anything we can do to help them, impact their costs, impact their ability to make tires for as little, as competitively as they can make them," says McKinney.      

Over all the issues haven't changed, they're looking at long term financial benefits, labor relations and productivity, water resources, space, and tax breaks.

"We did address those same type comments and it's still be the exact same focus that it's been from the beginning," said EDC Vice President Andrea Shruijer.  

One thing that's changed, the amount of community response.  It's grown from bows and marquees to a global page on Facebook started by 14-year-old Jarrett Martin, that's had more than 500 hits.

" With writing the letter and the school system, and the 14-year-old who did the Facebook page, it just it creates a community interest and we really do need to get our youth involved in our community," said Shruijer.  

So Cooper continues to be a part of Albany's future, offering future generations jobs.  Cooper Tire is Albany's second largest manufacturer and employs 1,300 workers.    

Albany's final proposal must be submitted by December first.  A decision on which plant will close is expected after the first of the year.

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