Company set to begin production in May 2004

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 13, 2004

One year ago the announcement was made.

Gov. Bob Riley stood before an estimated 700 people at the Greenville High School auditorium and announced that Hwashin had decided to build in Butler County.

The announcement had the number 70 attached to it.

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Before Greenville was chosen, 70 cities were visited and before a $70 million investment would be put in to the construction of the plant.

The plant was expected to begin pilot production in May 2004 with full production beginning in 2005.

Since the announcement people have waited patiently.

Residents of Greenville have waited not only to see if the Hwashin plant would remain on schedule, but if the growth that was said to accompany the plant would come.

Both have been right on schedule.

With the construction of a new Super Wal-Mart and the rumors of other well-known businesses visiting Greenville over the last year, the impact has been felt. Because things have moved so fast, the last year has flown by for city officials.

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon could hardly believe that it had already been a year since the announcement.

&uot;I have been telling people that it is hard to believe that it has already been a year since the announcement was made.&uot; said McLendon.

&uot;It’s also very exciting to see all the hard work put in by everyone and to see people going up and applying for jobs.&uot;

The plant, which is being built on 62 acres of land in one of Greenville’s newest industrial parks, has been making great progress.

The shell of the main building has already been put into place with the cement floors and locations for the equipment being mapped out.

Field Engineer Brian Gravitt, with James N. Gray Construction of Lexington Ky., said that so far construction is on schedule.

&uot;We think that some production will begin in May as was expected,&uot; said Gravitt. &uot;We have been able to stay on schedule so far.&uot;

The plant plans to move a press into the building soon..

However, this will be a complicated process.

&uot;We are going to have to bring it up from the Bay in Mobile,&uot; said Gravitt. &uot;It will probably be a slow process when we have to bring it to the site because of its size.&uot; We will likely have to close off whatever road we bring it in on.&uot;

Though nothing is for certain, the possibility exists for a plant of equal size to be built beside the current Hwashin location.

However, for this plant to be put into place the current plant will have to succeed.

&uot;The second plant is a possibility for the future,&uot; said Gravitt. &uot;That all depends on how things go with the first one.&uot;

In the year since the announcement Greenville has experienced many positive changes.

In the next year, with the completion of the plant, the city of Greenville should take on a new look.