Blytheville Moving Forward in Wake of Announcement of Plant Closing

BLYTHEVILLE, AR -- On Tuesday Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation announced that their Blytheville plant would close at this time next year, leaving the 350 employees without jobs.

City leaders in Blytheville and Mississippi County say while an announcement like this one is never welcome, they will keep moving forward.

"Part of any planning process is the recognition that nothing lasts forever," said Blytheville-Gosnell Area Chamber of Commerce Director Liz Smith.

"The day you recruit an industry and land one you've got to be planning for the day you lose it," said Blytheville Mayor Barrett Harrison.

"I think our plan for mitigating the damage of a closure such as Milwaukee's is to constantly be looking for the next industry," said Smith.

In 2003 voters in Mississippi County passed a half cent sales tax.  That money is used specifically for economic development.

Even though Milwaukee is closing the plant, skilled workers will be left behind looking for new jobs.

"They have great skills and a great contribution to make to our community," said Smith.

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation has said that when this plant closes some jobs will go to Mississippi.  However Mayor Harrison told Region 8 News he doesn't think all of them are staying in the United States.

"The federal government is going to have to stop exporting our good jobs to China and that's exactly what happened here in Blytheville," said Harrison.