The expansion comes just more than two years after Gov. Nathan Deal increased the bond capacity for the company’s expansion to $910 million. Costing an estimated $210 million, construction is now in the planning stages and expected to begin this fall, said President and CEO of Toyo Tire North America Jim Hawk via email.
For local leaders, the expansion raises the possibility of lowering unemployment and giving the local economy a shot in the arm.
“We think the company will start hiring in August of ’15,” said Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor. “The community still needs jobs, good-paying jobs, and that’s what Toyo’s always been a good neighbor [for]. [When] they started out, I think, their total investment in the first three phases [was] $1.5 billion. This is going to add $200 million to that.
“That’s a big company and a really great employer, and, I don’t know, they’ll move somewhere into the number two or three position as far as total employment in Bartow County, so that’s really exciting for us. ... We think really good-paying jobs for the citizens of Bartow County is what we need most. It’s going to lower our unemployment rate, which is very important to all the citizens of Bartow County and it’ll help stimulate the local economy.”
Hawk stated, via email, the expansion was brought on by growing customer demand in the company’s North American market. He also said the expansion would bring new products to the local plant, but he declined to provide specifics on the type of products.
Tommy Strickland, vice chairman of the Bartow-Carterville Joint Development Authority, which played a role in acquiring the 2011 bond capacity increase, thanked Toyo for its investment and support in the community.
“Our JDA board, Chairman James Jarrett and economic development staff are exceptionally pleased that Toyo Tire has experienced such tremendous growth in our community,” Strickland said. “Toyo Tire had a vision in 2004 when they came to Bartow County, which has been reached and far exceeded. We are grateful for their financial investment jobs and community support, and know the impact will be evident for years to come.”
Taylor also expressed his thanks, this time to his predecessor.
“I’d like to thank the past commissioner and administration, Clarence Brown and Steve Bradley, for all the work they did in the early years to get Toyo here. Because I know Clarence went through a lot of heat and took great risk, politically, to do what he did, and I’m just so appreciative of the things that they did to help get this expansion going,” he said.