Editorial: Monday’s factory announcement about Hankook good for state

Oct. 14, 2013 @ 11:07 PM

Congratulations are due to the city of Clarksville and the state of Tennessee for the pair’s announcement on Monday that Hankook will bring a new 1.5-million-square-foot facility to the Middle Tennessee region.

The South Korean-tire manufacturer says the $800 million site will open in early 2016 and employee 1,800.

It’s welcome news for an area that was hit hard just two years ago, when Union City — just 100 miles or so to the west — lost a Goodyear plan, putting another 1,800 out of work.

Hankook chose Clarksville after a looking at a number of locations in Tennessee.

“Our first goal, obviously, is to get them to locate in Tennessee,” Governor Bill Haslem told reporters after the deal was announced. “At the end of the day, they have to make the call. But we showed them locations throughout the state, including there.”

According to the Associated Press, the state offered $72 million in incentives to improve infrastructure, training and a cultural program to help Korean families integrate into the community.

Local governments approved another package worth $50 million. Those figures don’t include statutory tax credits that depend on investment and hiring thresholds, or the value of land where the plant will be built, according to the AP.

It’s great to see another large-scale opportunity for Tennesseans to go to work.

With growing infrastructure, close interstate highways, a good school system and a beautiful natural setting, it would be nice to see a large-scale employer settle here.

While Sevier County’s primary economy has long been tourism-based, a robust economy needs diversity, and the manufacturing sector typically provides good-paying jobs and benefits for workers.

Local workers would surely appreciate the opportunity it would provide.