AUTHOR: CUMMIN

HED:Tish. Co. site may have tenant

By John Cummins

Daily Journal

IUKA - Tri-State Commerce Park - formerly known as Yellow Creek - will finally be getting a tenant, an official with the park's board said Friday.

Jimmy Marlin confirmed that Taylor Machine Works from Louisville will be leasing Building 2031 and manufacturing large industrial machines. Marlin is chairman of the Tri-State Commerce Park board.

The company plans to employ at least 50 workers, while another 50 workers will probably be employed with various subcontractors working with Taylor.

Marlin said the Tri-State Commerce Park board approved the proposal from Taylor at Wednesday's board meeting. The proposal is now undergoing a final look by the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development, Marlin said.

Terms of the agreement were not released. State economic officials and a Taylor spokesperson had no comment on the report.

Marlin said Taylor will not move into the site until final negotiations are finished between the company and the state.

There may also be minor work, such as landscaping, needed before Taylor moves in. Marlin estimated the company would be at the site by February or March.

Taylor Machine Works is part of the Taylor Group, also based in Louisville. It manufactures forklifts and employs 700 at a Winston County site.

Taylor Machine Works had estimated sales of between $25 million and $100 million last year. A sister company, Taylor Environmental Products, employs 10 and manufactures wastewater separation systems.

Mack Loyd Wadkins, executive director of the Tishomingo County Development Foundation, said the news is something the area "has waited a long time for."

"The first (tenant) is often the hardest to get," Wadkins said.

He said there are workers available for Taylor in the area. The Prosser Co. recently laid off employees after completing a contract, and Wadkins said there were workers available with welding experience, similar to what Taylor might need.

In addition, there are unemployed workers still available from the recent closing of the Vulcan Materials quarry, Wadkins said.

The state took control of the 4,200-acre Yellow Creek site last year when the federal government abandoned it after spending billions of dollars in failed ventures there.

In 1975, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced plans to build a nuclear power plant there, but canceled the project in 1982 after spending about $1 billion. Likewise, a 1988 NASA plan to build solid rockets for the space shuttle program also died after Congress killed the program, despite spending more than $2 billion on it.

Thiokol Corp. moved in briefly after NASA's departure with plans to manufacture rocket motor nozzles, but that project was abandoned after NASA had its budget cut in 1995.

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