By Jim Cooper, Editor

Mustang Survival operations in Spencer continue to grow.

The Roane Economic Development Authority is assisting the company in acquiring more of the former Goodrich building in the Roane Industrial Park.

"We're working with them to expand and allow them to have 37,000 additional square feet," Mark Whitley, economic development director for Roane and Jackson counties, said.

Whitley said Mustang had recently completed a third round of employee training and currently has a workforce of 52.

"They're very happy with their Roane County employees," he said of the company. "Hopefully, we'll be able to report back some more good news."

Whitley made the report during Tuesday's Roane County Commission meeting.

Contacted after the meeting, Mustang plant manager Greg Stover said the company was adding a warehouse and shipping area to its production operations. One job will be added to start, with the possibility of more in the future.

Stover said an additional 10 to 15 production workers would start the training process on June 7.

Mustang began local operations last August as a satellite of its plant in Elizabeth. Mustang is known as an industry leader in the production of personal flotation devices, survival suits and other lifesaving apparel for customers including the military.

After a year of rent-free operation, the company will begin making payments to the Roane EDA.

During his regular quarterly report to county commissioners, Whitley also gave an update on the former Spencer Veneer building in the industrial park. He said there is still interest in the site and its equipment, but noted that the W.Va. Economic Development Authority plans to sell the equipment soon to help satisfy a lien on the property. Whitley said he planned to attend a wood products convention in August in an attempt to further market the building.

Shreve's Well Service is providing some maintenance for the building while using it for storage, Whitley said.

Whitley also reported that the parent company of Spencer Veneer owed nearly $17,000 in back taxes on the former Goodrich building, which the veneer plant also used at one time. He doubted if the sum would ever be collected.

Commission president Rodney Cox said he wanted to hear the opinion of assessor Emily Westfall before taking action on the back taxes.

Whitley also reported the lack of cell phone service was hindering operations for the Burke-Parsons-Bowlby/Stella-Jones plant at Billings. He said major carriers had not shown interest in providing service and that secondary carriers, including WV WISP, were being contacted. The company now has 29 employees, he said, up from a recent low of 16.

No activity is taking place regarding a decade-old industrial shell building on Williams Drive that has been vacant for most of its existence. He said the plans of one entity that had considered the site had been delayed.


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