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Paris City Council OK's incentive package for a 'significant' economic development prospect

PEDC executive director Steve Gilbert (left) and PEDC board president Doug Wehrman look on as the Paris City Council quickly gives unanimous authorization Monday for the PEDC to finalize an agreement with an unnamed major corporation to locate a plant in Paris. “This is a significant number of jobs for our community and a significant capital investment as well,” Gilbert told eParisExtra. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

By CHARLES RICHARDS

eParisExtra.com

What a Christmas this might be for Paris!

Steve Gilbert, executive director of the Paris Economic Development Corporation, said as much Monday night after getting the OK from the Paris City Council on an incentive package that Gilbert hopes will persuade a major corporation to establish a plant in Paris instead of three other cities under consideration.

“We can’t discuss the details yet, but we’re talking about a significant number of jobs for our community and significant capital investment as well,” Gilbert told eParisExtra.

The three other cities vying for the plant are in Pennsylvania, Nebraska and South Carolina, Gilbert said.

“We hope that before the Christmas break, all of the details of the project will be finalized and that the company will make an announcement,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert and Doug Wehrman, president of the PEDC board, emerged at 6:35 p.m. Monday from a one-hour meeting in which they briefed the Paris City Council on “Project Modern Art.”

“We are waiting on a request that we’ve made to the state for some assistance, and everything on the project is on hold until then. We are competing with three other cities on this project. We’re pretty far down the road, so we’re encouraged,” the PEDC executive director added.

Asked if the company’s name would be recognizable to Paris residents, Gilbert smiled and said, “Very.”

Earlier Monday, the PEDC board met. Then Gilbert and Wehrman went to the council seeking its approval.

After a 63-minute discussion behind closed doors, the council came out and by unanimous vote authorized Gilbert to finalize an agreement between the PEDC and Project Modern Art.

“So now both the city and the PEDC are on the same page,” Gilbert said. “This action that the council took tonight lets us move forward. We are optimistic that in just a matter of a few weeks the project will be complete.”

The code name doesn’t mean the economic prospect has anything to do with art, Gilbert said. Each economic development  prospect the PEDC pursues is given a code name to allow discussion publicly without disclosing the name of the company or the nature of its business.

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