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Vidalia Plant Decision Closer
Friday, 20 March 2009

March 20--  Local officials are "cautiously optimistic" that a food processing company will choose Toombs County for a new plant which would employ an estimated 238 people.

The Toombs County Development Authority was briefed on the progress of what's called "Project Spirit" at its meeting Thursday.  They believe the decision will be positive if the prospect can close a deal on the former Symington building in the industrial park on U.S. One north of Lyons. 

Toombs County is in competition with Florence, South Carolina for the plant.  The state of Georgia has sweetened the deal for the prospect by agreeing to invest a million dollars or more for a 10,000 square foot freezer in the building.

Additionally, the Toombs County Development Authority is prepared to spend an estimated $220,000 to supply the plant with natural gas and another $62,000 in moving expenses.

Although not a part of current negotiations, the company may also be interested in a "spec" building next door to the Symington location which it would use for canning operations with up to 75 employees.

Executives and engineers from the food processor and its parent company have made visits to the site in the past few days.  

Development Authority Director Bill Mitchell says a decision could come soon, but he doesn't expect a public announcement until May.  He says the company would like to start operations in September if they choose the U.S. One location.

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