Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Jackson IDB Closes On Old Eaton Building

Jackson County has closed on the purchase of an industrial building on North Grundy Quarles Highway, vacant for the better part of eight years.

Mayor Randy Heady said the Industrial Development Board has been working on a deal for two years. He said he hopes to lease the building to a client that can bring some 50-80 jobs to the county. He said it was very difficult to attract lessees when the county did not own the property.

“This is located not far, just right outside of Gainesboro,” Heady said. “It’s actually in the city limits, so that’s also exciting to have this possibility right here and we don’t have to take two years building a building or project or getting funding. We have the funding ourselves and were able to just purchase it straight out.”

Heady said when Eaton Corporation closed the location in 2016, the community felt the economic impact of losing those local jobs. He said Jackson County went from economically “at risk” to “distressed” after the plant closed and skilled workers had to seek work outside of the county. The building needs some two months of work before it is ready to house a client, but Heady said these are exciting times for Jackson County.

“It was a big deal and we felt that locally,” Heady said. “Now you’ve got workers that were driving, you know, 10 minutes, 15, sometimes even five, now they’re driving 45 minutes in some cases, or maybe an hour to get to the new job and back. So we definitely felt that.”

Heady said he is excited to change that dynamic with new skilled jobs available in the county. He said the machine manufacturing that went on in the building left a smell that will be eradicated as part of the upcoming cleanup work. He said a portion of the roof will need repairs, which he expects to take four to six weeks. He said the final step will be adding LED lights.

“We are moving in that direction,” Heady said. “Already got cleaning going on, so, you know, pretty excited about it, but we’ve got to get it looking like it ought to be before we can do anything with it, so we’re in the process of doing that right now.”

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