October 30, 2006--Posted at 6:30 p.m. CST
MCCRORY, AR--The job outlook for Woodruff County received good news Monday with the official announcement that a California paper company is opening a production facility in McCrory. When the American Greetings plant closed in McCrory back in 2003 over 300 people lost their jobs and the local economy hasn't been the same since.
"There's a lot of people in Woodruff County who are looking for work and there is just hardly any here," said resident Vhonda Kelley.
"I am looking for employment and I have been without work since April. I would be happy to be able to go back to work and not have to drive out of town," said resident Linda Farmer.
But there is hope on the horizon with Monday's announcement that Calpaco Papers will open a production facility in McCrory.
"I don't know if you can tell from our crowd today our community is excited about this day," said McCrory mayor Doyle Fowler.
"I just thank God for this great day," said Farmer.
The plant hopes to begin hiring workers in the next couple weeks with the potential, down the line, to replace all of the jobs lost from the American Greetings Plant.
"Within a three year time frame 200 to 300. If you include the jobs from the tenants I have in Tennessee probably going up to 500," said Calpaco Papers CEO Paul Maier.
One of the reasons Calpaco selected Woodruff County was because of its close proximity to the Intermodal Rail Yard in Marion. To help with the large scale distribution needs, the city of McCrory is building a two point five million dollar railroad spur to connect to Union Pacific.
"We're hoping to have it completed in the next two years," said Fowler.
While Calpaco should benefit from having a strong distribution network and a nice facility, it's the employees and the local economy that should benefit most for the new jobs.
"I would have some income coming in and I would be able to put money back into the town and back into the community," said Farmer.