Excitement is growing throughout the Tri-State after the groundbreaking ceremony for the $1.5 billion Braidy Industries aluminum mill at East-Park.
Thousands of local residents and folks from Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere have applied for 600 jobs at what will be a giant complex at the previously slow-to-grow business park which encompasses parts of Boyd, Carter and Greenup counties.
Braidy executives have said and done much to win friends for their new company. The firm’s community relations activities and promises bode well for schools and other non-profit entities in the Tri-State.
We’re amused at times by all of the individuals who want to take credit for Braidy coming to this area, first to South Shore in Greenup County and later to a more suitable site at East-Park.
In the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter who gets the credit as long as those in need of work get the jobs at Braidy and the other employers who will locate here to be close to their new mill.
Kentucky’s aluminum producers, primarily in West Kentucky, were operating at less than full capacity when Braidy announced its intention
to locate here.
In the ensuing months, two of those aluminum plants have announced expansions. Whether motivated by the competing Braidy project or the possibility of a trade war with China over aluminum imports, it is obvious that other aluminum companies sense an uptick in the metals business, particularly automotive and aerospace.
We see a parallel between the emerging aluminum industry in East Kentucky and the decades-long efforts to attract secondary wood manufacturing to this area to capitalize on our worldclass white oak lumber.
It took much longer than expected for secondary wood processing to arrive but the success of a stave mill and a planned cooperage in Morehead is bringing 400 good jobs to town.
Availability of competitively-priced aluminum should prove to be a great incentive to manufacturers to follow Braidy to EastPark or another suitable location in this area.
We must make sure that Carter County becomes part of that expected economic surge.