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Mitsubishi plant good; not done yet

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POSTED: September 25, 2009 8:57 a.m.
Gov. Sonny Perdue’s announcement that Mitsubishi is going to build a manufacturing facility in Pooler is welcome news on the economic front for neighboring Chatham County — and indeed, the region.
The plant, which will eventually employ some 500 people, is expected to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy. It will be making power plants, mostly for industrial uses.
Liberty County should also expect to reap some benefits from the new plant, both in terms of jobs at the facility, expected to begin operations in 2010, and as a boost to local industries that could do business with the facility.
Ron Tolley, CEO of the Liberty County Development Authority, said the local recruiters have made it known among state, Chatham County and company officials that there is space in Liberty County’s business areas for other industries that could support the Mitsubishi project.
In addition, Liberty’s real estate industry may also see a shot in the arm, since those who relocate to the Coastal Empire to work at the plant will need a place to live. Housing in our area has not been hit as hard as others across the country, but even here development has slowed to a crawl and hundreds of construction and supply jobs have dried up.
One bit of caution, however. The site near I-16 where Mitsubishi is expected to make a home was originally cleared for Daimler/Chrysler a few years ago and that also seemed like a done deal when a former governor announced plans for the plant which was to make vans. At the time, that governor was preparing for a re-election bid and the carmaker eventually did an about face.
The so-called megasite that was prepared for Daimler/Chrysler has set empty since, even though state officials said it was one of the most desirable industrial sites in the Southeast.
In addition, the arrival of an additional brigade at Fort Stewart was also supposedly a certainty, and many who invested in the expected growth the brigade would bring are now feeling the financial pain, since the brigade didn’t come.
In short, it is never a good idea to count one’s chickens before they hatch.
It appears from the governor’s announcement, however, that Mitsubishi intends to move forward with its plans here and, if so, that is truly good news.
 

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