Will lease to Blue Bird Resins, enabling recycler to expand, add jobs
By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Monday night authorized the transfer of $475,000 to the county Industrial Development Authority for purchase of the Jefferson Yarns Inc. Hill Plant in Pulaski.
Pulaski County Community Development Director Shawn Utt said the IDA will lease the plant to Blue Bird Resins, a plastics recycler currently located in the Pulaski Furniture complex in Pulaski. The transaction will allow Blue Bird to expand its 40,000 square feet of recycling capabilities to about 100,000 square feet, and to increase its staff from five to 20 employees.
Utt said the funds, which currently are earning about 2 percent interest, will be transferred from county reserves. Under the agreement with the IDA, he said, the funds will earn 5 percent interest.
“In my opinion, that’s a good investment,” said Utt. He noted the value of the Hill Plant has been assessed several times over the past few years, with results ranging from $600,000 to $800,000.
“Plus we get the jobs,” Massie District Supervisor Andy McCready added.
Utt said the partnership between the IDA and Pulaski County is crucial for funding of the project, since the IDA will act as an “intermediary” for the purchase of the Hill Plant for Blue Bird Resins.
Based in Winchester, Blue Bird chose to the town of Pulaski for its second “manufacturing/recycling” facility during the summer of 2011. The company purchases plastic by-products from manufacturers then grinds them into pellets. The pellets are then sold to other manufacturers that use recycled plastic in their products.
Utt said Blue Bird recycles plastic products for Volvo and is “talking with” Phoenix Packaging about turning its scrap plastic into re-usable sheets of plastic.
No decision has been made on whether Blue Bird will keep its facility in the Pulaski Furniture complex, according to Utt. “They’re still trying to work out those details, but they do have sufficient business for the Hill Plant,” he said.
Utt pointed out the Hill plant workspace is “relatively cheap space considering the other properties around the county. It gives them a lot of capabilities.”
Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp called the project, “The best thing to happen to the town of Pulaski on that end of town.”
“It’ll be nice to get workers back in that area,” Utt added.
McCready pointed out that the county “is going to act as a facilitator to help this business grow in the town of Pulaski to help grow the town of Pulaski.” He added that the county will get all of its money back, plus interest, at the end of five years.
A press release issued by New River Valley Economic Development Alliance (NRVEDA) Tuesday morning said the project will enable Blue Bird to establish “one of the largest grinding and pelletizing operations in the region.”
“Pulaski has been a tremendous resource for us. I don’t think we would be in such a strong growth position without the support of Pulaski and the entire New River Valley,” said Dan Oberlander of Blue Bird Resins.
Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell said, “We are very pleased by the growth and success of Blue Bird Resins. The re-purposing of the Hill Plant creates a win for Jefferson Yarns, the town and the county.”
Supervisors Chairman Joe Sheffey said, “Pulaski County is very pleased to be a partner in Blue Bird Resins’ expansion project. This project wouldn’t be possible without the vision of Dan Oberlander and the partnership forged between local businesses and governmental entities. Blue Bird Resins represents another example of our concerted effort to grow our local economy with diversified industrial businesses.”
Aric H. Bopp of NRVEDA called the expansion, a great start to the new year for economic development in the New River Valley. “We are looking forward to a great 2013 and this project gets us headed in the right direction,” he added.