Kentucky lands paper mill, 320 new jobs

The western Kentucky city of Henderson will be the site where Pratt Paper LLC plans to build a massive recycled paper mill and manufacturing facility that will create more than 320 jobs, and the $400 million project represents the largest economic development investment in that region in about a half-century.

Company officials met with state and local leaders Thursday afternoon to make the official announcement in the community of 30,000 people south of Evansville, Ind.

Over the next five years, Pratt plans to build a 450,000-square-foot mill that will employ 120 people and a 700,000-square-foot plant employing about 200 people to make corrugated paper products, including pizza boxes and packaging for big box retailers and distributors.

The construction work is expected to create 700 jobs through the end of 2026.

Pratt Industries Executive Chairman Anthony Pratt said the mill represents a major investment in green technologies and is the largest single investment in the Georgia-based company’s history.

He credited Gov. Andy Beshear, who he met in April, for encouraging the company to expand in the state. Pratt has a manufacturing facility in Hebron, located just outside of Cincinnati, that has 200 workers.

“We see further investment potential in this dynamic state, and Gov. Beshear’s leadership has made Kentucky a great place to invest in,” Pratt said. “I believe in regional manufacturing. It’s the heart and soul of America and there is no better place than Kentucky.”

Work on the mill is slated to begin next March. That facility will be completed in the fall of 2023. The manufacturing plant is expected to be complete by the end of 2026.

The Pratt plant is the latest one in a steady stream the governor has announced since the beginning of the year. In all, companies have announced new or expansion projects that have a combined value of $2.6 billion in investments and are expected to create more than 5,500 full-time jobs.

Coming out of the pandemic, Beshear said Kentucky isn’t just rebuilding. It’s surging.

“This is happening because great companies like Pratt Paper and strong leaders like Anthony Pratt can see where Kentucky is headed and know our skilled workforce is the partner they need to succeed,” the governor said.

Earlier Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave Pratt preliminary approval for up to $14 million in tax incentives for the project. Those incentives are based on the company meeting the $400 million investment and generating 321 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

The average hourly wage, including benefits, for the jobs is expected to be $39.

Additional incentives of up to $3.5 million will be available for Pratt through sales and use tax rebates on construction costs, building fixtures and equipment used,

Henderson Mayor Steve Austin credited city, Henderson County and local economic development officials for creating a stunning proposal in just three months.

“Henderson was in competition for the industry location with at least six other prospects,” Austin said. “Hard work and determination paid off in the long run.”

Henderson Economic Development Executive Director Missy Vanderpool told The Gleaner, the local newspaper, that Pratt represents the largest investment for an attraction project since the Century Aluminum plant (then Anaconda) opened in the early 1970s. The expected new jobs is the most for a single new project since Hudson Foods opened a poultry processing facility in the city 26 years ago.

This article was originally posted on Kentucky lands paper mill, 320 new jobs

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