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June 2012
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GOOD FIND Plastics firm may finally fulfill building's potential

The city-county building that once housed Infiniti Plastics Technology may finally fulfill its potential with the announcement that Genova Products of Davison, Mich., plans to move into the facility. The firm is expected to bring 75 initial jobs to the site with hopes that will grow to 125 over the next 10 years.

Infiniti was shown the door by local officials after years of failing to fulfill its promise to employ 106 workers by 2009. The city and county built the $5 million facility for Infiniti in 2004 and provided more than $1 million of incentives, including three years of free rent. They also provided $240,000 to build a railroad spur to the plant, located in the I-24 Park off Olivet Church Road, to allow for bulk deliveries of the colored plastic pellets Infiniti used in production.

The secretive California-based company produced plastic casings for movie and game CDs for such major distributors as Sony. But years into the venture, Infiniti employed only a handful of people and never came close to the 100-plus workers promised in return for the incentives. That failure became a campaign issue in the county judge-executive's race in 2006, when current Judge-Executive Van Newberry ousted his predecessor, Danny Orazine.

As we have noted in past editorials, Infiniti probably came into the market with every intention of growing to the 106-job level it promised. But be it market conditions or for other reasons, it just never happened. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development withdrew its incentives to the company in 2007 for failure to produce the promised jobs.

Local officials showed considerably more patience, but last year they finally presented Infiniti with an ultimatum: produce the jobs, or a plan that convinces us you will get to the promised number of jobs, or vacate the building. After some negotiation, Infiniti opted to leave in return for a $70,000 payment for equipment it left on the premises.

Paducah Economic Development President Chad Chancellor said at the time of the ultimatum that there were other prospects interested in the facility, and true to his word, he has now brought in Genova Products, a company he has been courting since 2011. Genova makes PVC plumbing pipes, vinyl fencing and vinyl decking - all of which involve production processes with similarities to Infiniti's. The city-county facility thus provides a great fit for the new tenant.

The Paducah City Commission has already approved a memorandum agreement with Genova. County approval and approval of state incentives also are needed to conclude the deal, but those actions appear to be mere formalities at this point.

By every appearance, Genova Products is a good find for our community and the city-county facility is a great fit for the company. Genova's arrival and the 75 jobs starting out will be a welcome addition to the local economy, which has taken a tough blow from the winding down of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. This is some salve for the wound and we congratulate Chancellor and PED for their success in making Genova a new partner in our community.

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