WEBB CITY, MO.--- The industrial parks in Webb City and Joplin are flourishing, attracting more and more companies into the Southwest Missouri area.
"Growth is inevitable," said Erin Braker, Webb City Community Development Coordinator.
Webb City Community Development Coordinator Erin Braker says she talks to companies weekly who have interest in the area.
"Businesses are hearing about Southwest Missouri all over the country and we here at Webb City recognize that and we want to meet their needs and we want them to come to this area," said Braker.
There are three industrial parks that are located in Webb City and Joplin. The newly formed park located north in Webb City off the round-about is mainly occupied with up to 12 large businesses, but the park on Enterprise Avenue that Webb City shares with Joplin, has available acreage there that can be built on.
"Right now, we have Don's Cold Storage moving in. CNC Machine just finished up there building and there are a couple of other starts that are moving and looking and prospecting to move in there," said Carl Francis, Webb City Interim City Administrator.
These companies will be in the Enterprise Industrial Park, which is shared by Webb City and Joplin. Webb City City Administrator Carl Francis says about 50 jobs are promised through Don's Cold Storage and a few with CNC Machine. There are a couple prospective industries bringing an additional 20 to 30 jobs each.
"We're working everyday to try and expand not only the industrial areas, the two established industrial areas here in Webb City, we are also looking to establish our Centennial TDD commercial area," said Francis.
Erin Braker is out front trying to sell those spots in Centennial Park, which is 300 acres of land the city recently purchases just north of Highway 171.
"Webb City is growing, the Southwest Missouri area is growing and when you look at the logistics of the area of where it's going to grow, the possibility of growth is northeast and that's where that property is," said said Braker.
As for the Joplin's industrial park called Crossroads, which is located on East 32nd Street, this is the newest and largest of the parks. With almost 800 acres just a mile from Interstate 49.
"At the end of 2015, there will be a new interchange in place that MODOT is building that will be on the north side of Crossroads. That will go directly out on Interstate 44 and 49," said Rob O'Brian, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce President.
Joplin's Chamber President Rob O'Brian says Crossroad's will be bringing in Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing.
"They will open their doors later this spring and be ramped up to full production by fall and will employ close to 150 people," said said O'Brian.
Eagle Picher Technologies is expanding for more engineering capacity. Also, TECI is moving in since they have been growing out of their facility on 20th Street. Lastly, Hampshire Pet Products, which just completed about 60,000 square feet of a new warehouse.
"Jobs are the key to everything. Everything starts with jobs. Once you have a job, and people have money to spend, they spend it in a retail establishment. Those dollars come back to the city and continue to grow," said Francis.
What makes Southwest Missouri so attractive to these companies?
"This is a great geographic location, we are in the middle of the country," said said O'Brian.
"With the 249 Bypass and the access to get to 171 and 249, it just made it that much easier," said Braker.
On top of that, the property has railroads along it and trucks can do their transport straight to the highways. O'Brain says it's not just about location and infrastructure.
"Basically the people here, the work ethic, it's that Midwestern. You know, we are going to go in and get the job done," said O'Brian.
"They obviously want their industrial dollars and employee dollars to stay in this area, they found something great and they're here," said Braker.
The companies that have already started construction, that include: Don's Cold Storage, CNC Machine, Heartland Pet Food and Eagle Picher Technologies, Rob O'Brian says these will create close to 300 jobs.
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