Commission acknowledges abatement

Published 2:28 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

The Butler County Commission acknowledged a 10-year tax abatement for Ozark Materials during its regular meeting on Feb. 6.

Ozark Materials announced in January that it will make an additional $2 million investment at its Greenville facility.

The abatement means that the company will be exempt from paying all state and local non-educational taxes and all construction related transaction taxes with the exception of those levied for educational purposes or for capital improvements for education.

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The company, which first announced in May that it would locate a facility in the former WestPoint Home facility, will produce thermoplastic.

Thermoplastic is a polymer that becomes pliable or moldable at a specific temperature, and returns to a solid state upon cooling. The material is used to stripe roads across the state.

In May, Lee Gross, president of Ozark Materials, said the company planned to make an investment of $3 million and hire 40 people. Gross said he now expects to hire approximately 80 people once the plant is fully operational.

In February of 2013, the City of Greenville purchased the 300,000 square-foot building, which was once home to Rheem Manufacturing and WestPoint Home, for $750,000. The Butler County Commission contributed $50,000 to help purchase the building in an effort to spur job creation in the area.

WestPoint Home occupied the building for 12 years before it closed its manufacturing plant in Greenville in 2011 and moved its plant operations to Chipley, Fla. At the time of its closing the plant employed 120 full-time employees and 60 temporary workers.

The building was formerly home to Rheem Manufacturing. Rheem Manufacturing shuttered the doors to its Greenville plant in 1999.

Gross said he expects the plant to open by the middle of this month, and to be fully operational by the fall.