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Jasper County officials work with the state on incentive to bring Owens Corning to Joplin

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JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI -

Jasper County officials are working with the state on an incentive to bring Owens Corning to Joplin.


It was the subject of a public meeting held at the commissioners' office this morning.


The vacant Mars Petcare plant may not be vacant much longer.


That's the hope of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and Jasper County officials, who are working to make the site a viable location for prospective buyers like Owens Corning, a roofing manufacturing company, which has expressed interest.


"This would be a great improvement, to put a vacant facility back into use and create jobs for the region," said Rob O'Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.


Joplin is in the running, but Owens Corning hasn't made a decision yet.


A statement from company officials reads, "Owens Corning has announced our intention to invest $90 million in a manufacturing plant for our mineral wool insulation business. We have not finalized the details of the location."


That's why county officials are applying for a $1 million Community Development Block Grant as an incentive to fund rail spur improvements at the site.


"It would be cost prohibitive for the county to be able to do the improvements without the grant funds," said Brian Ross, community development specialist.


Another incentive in the works is to offer 'Chapter 100 bonds' to reduce the company's property taxes.


"The current taxes on the property remain in place, and then the new investment is abated for a period of time while the company ramps up and gets into operation," O'Brian said.


Officials are hopeful these incentives will land Owens Corning, which would bring more than 100 jobs to the area.


"All of these have to come together in order to have a complete and finalized package that the company knows is already in place should they make the decision to come here," O'Brian said.


Today marks the beginning of the public comment period on the grant application.


Officials say they plan to submit the application next week, and should find out whether it has been approved within a month's time.

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