Economic development efforts put forth in the past year are beginning to pay off for Clay County and the cities of Henrietta and Jolly as several businesses make plans to move in.
“This area is starting to look pretty positive for businesses, even from other states,” said Rick Langford, economic development director for the City of Henrietta during Monday’s council meeting.
BlueRidge Trailers of Canton will soon be expanding its manufacturing operation to a new location in Henrietta after purchasing the former Silver Creek plant from David and Rose Silvertooth last week. M.H. Direct, Inc., a sister company, bought the facility for $375,000.
Blue Ridge Trailers produces high-end aluminum enclosed trailers at its Canton plant, but could designate the Henrietta plant for more utilitarian models. The company is expected to create 25 jobs in the first year, and more than 50 jobs in all.
During the city council meeting, Langford requested asked for two areas to be designated as reinvestment zones — the BlueRidge Trailers plant and lots located west of the Best Western Motel. The council approved both, bringing the total number of reinvestment zones in Henrietta to three.
The Pecan Shed has already purchased one of the lots and will begin construction of a gift shop and fuel station next year.
County Judge Kenneth Liggett and Langford are working with the governor’s office of economic development on a project outside the city limits. Langford said that while it is outside his “jurisdiction,” he agreed to assist due to the benefit it could have on the city.
A manufacturing company from out-of-state has purchased a large tract of land on Hwy. 287, approximately seven miles southeast of Henrietta, for development of a facility that could employ as many as 100. Langford said much of the information for the project, including the name of the company, is confidential. The manufacturer was looking for access to the highway and railroad.
Monday morning, Mary Taylor, the mayor of Jolly, asked Clay County Commissioners to consider creating a reinvestment zone at a location on Hwy. 287, which would allow tax incentives to bring in a new business.
Taylor said the city has been working with Wichita Falls RV to move the sales and service center to Jolly. Wichita Falls RV is interested in the old Jolly Truck Wash property, located on the southbound service road. The property most recently was used a yard for a trucking company.
Taylor said a tax abatement agreement would require the company to bring in three jobs. The company is seeking an abetment of 100 percent in the first three year. The tax abatement would decrease by 20 percent each year after until it is paying the full amount.
Because the City of Jolly collects no property tax, the abatement would have to be from Clay County. School districts in Texas cannot offer tax abatements.