Commissioners OK loan guarantee for brick company
Thermo plant could eventually create 30 new jobs in county
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

June 29, 2004 -- Hopkins County commissioners have laid the final brick to pave the way for the start of operations of Old World Brick Company. The resolution approved Monday fulfilled a legal requirement that the county give permission to Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation to provide financial incentives to the start-up company.

"For us to do a project in the county, we need to have the county's approval to do the project," said EDC Executive Director Randy Thomas. "All we needed was for [commissioners] to say they didn't have a problem with us doing it."

Old World Brick Corporation, a start-up industry, is planning a brick manufacturing operation at the old A.P. Green facility near Thermo.

No firm date has been set for the start of manufacturing operations at the plant site, according to Old World Brick Corporation's Perry Hutchinson, who said work was under way renovating the plant site.

The plant is expected to eventually create as many as 30 jobs, with initial start-up requiring about 15 employees.

Thomas said the company is getting close to being ready to start production at the plant. The final hurdle was the installation of a new gas supply line to provide fuel for the kilns.

"From my understanding, they will be starting doing brick here just as soon as they can get the gas to their kilns," he said.

A request from EDC to Sulphur Springs city council in May was sent back for some changes and brought back to the council in June when it was approved.

In turning down the request in May, council members wanted tighter language regarding provisions concerning when the incentive would be paid and when it would be paid back to EDC.

"The new language says, essentially, that in the event Old World defaults, they have 60 days to pay back any money that has been paid to them by the EDC," City Manager Marc Maxwell explained. "It just adds more teeth to the language."

Council members then gave approval to the revised EDC recommendation earlier this month leaving only approval of the resolution by county commissioners.

The proposal for the brick manufacturer differed from most requests to EDC for assistance. Generally, a company will come to EDC seeking an abatement of taxes on a new facility for a specific number of years as a financial incentive. Old World Brick, however, was seeking a loan guarantee from the economic development corporation.

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