Processing center to be built near Big River Steel

Processing center to be built near Big River Steel

OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - When the new Big River Steel mill comes to Osceola there will also be another new facility near it and more jobs.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced Tuesday that Material Works Ltd. is committed to building an "advanced flat rolled toll processing center" adjacent to Big River Steel. The company is investing $20 million to build the facility and 45 new jobs will be created, according to the news release.

The facility will be 110,000 square feet and will store "both cut-to-length and slitting lines capable of processing material from the lightest gauge the mill will produce up to half inch," the release stated.

"This is the beginning of a great time to be in Northeast Arkansas," Mayor Dickie Kennemore said. The city hopes to bring more steel related industries similar to Material Works in the future. Mayor Kennemore said the focus is all about bringing hard working people opportunities.

“But they need a job, and they will work hard. That's what the Big River, as well as these insularly industries,  will offer our workforce,” he added.

With the new interest in steel related business, the Mayor said Arkansas Northeastern is offering special training to allow for potential workers to learn. He said anyone in Arkansas is eligible to come and participate in the training before the new facilities open that way they are ready to be hired.

Another positive aspect of the Steel industry is the pay. Mayor Kennemore said these jobs will pay more than just minimum wage. Salaries could range from $30,000 all the way up to $100,000. Mayor Kennemore explained these higher paying jobs will benefit every aspect of the area.

"That larger working force is going to have kids. That means more school teachers. That larger working force that is making more money is going to have more money to buy," he  said. "So yeah more restaurants, I mean you name it, Northeast Arkansas is about to experience it."

He also said with new jobs and a better economy, the city will be able to put money towards more city services, better equipment, expanded parks and recreation, and an overall better quality of life.

He said this exciting announcement is just the beginning of growth. "Everybody is going to benefit. There is an old saying "A rising tied raises all boats", and that's what I want to happen. I want everybody, the workers, the businesses, and everybody to benefit," Mayor Kennemore said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015 and should be complete in 2016 to coincide with the Big River Steel opening. City officials at the announcement said the next step, after bringing more jobs, is to launch a campaign to encourage more people live in Osceola and Mississippi county.

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