Jobs announcements, new investments, increased sales tax, and new businesses have given us a great deal to be thankful for in Paris and Lamar County over the last few years. The Paris Economic Development Corporation’s core activities in business retention and expansion, business attraction, and entrepreneurship have led to project announcements by nine companies over the last three years, representing over $300 million in new investment to our community. These projects support more than 1,000 direct jobs in Paris and Lamar County, strengthening our position as a manufacturing hub with the majority of those contributing to our 25% workforce in manufacturing.
Retention and expansion activities have always been a priority for the PEDC. Since 2020, we have engaged in over 30 meetings and visits with existing industry to discuss future plans, provide general business assistance, or collaborate on expansion opportunities. Projects since 2020 have included Metro Gate and Manufacturing, Crosslake Aerospace (formerly Blossom Aerospace), and Delco Trailers, who has constructed over 550,000 SF of new industrial space. Securing TXDOT’s new district headquarters in Paris through a site in the Gene Stallings Business Park was another important win that not only kept 160 jobs in Paris, Texas but strengthened our relationship with a key economic development partner. These projects represent a total of 785 direct jobs in our community.
In business attraction, we celebrated the announcement of new business locates including Lionshead Tire and Wheel (2022) and Trison Tarps (2022) – two companies that greatly complement our growing trailer industry, which employs more than 2,000 workers. In March 2023, Canadian-based Universal Fabricating announced selecting Lamar County as its first U.S. expansion location with 100 new jobs and an investment of $15 million. In April 2023, Houston-based Ametsa Packaging, LLC, announced the creation of 100 new jobs with a sugar liquefication and packaging plant in Paris. These announcements bring a total of 260 new jobs.
In total, projects assisted by the PEDC since 2020 support 1,045 direct jobs, will generate an estimated annual payroll of $52 million, and inject over $319 million in new investment into our economy.
Performance outcomes in economic development are generally measured by job growth, personal income, tax base, and capital investment because these outcomes can be easily quantified. What is less quantifiable but equally important is how we plan for years to come and lay the foundation for future successes. Several strategic initiatives that contribute to laying the foundation include managing and expanding the community’s industrial land and building base, supporting workforce development programming, encouraging a unified vision for Paris and Lamar County, and exploring internal and external funding mechanisms to increase our funding.
Here are just a few key milestones in these initiatives achieved by the PEDC:
- Acquired 200 acres (rail-served) on SW Loop 286 for future development
- Rezoned PEDC-owned properties for industrial use and completed environmental reports
- Launched new joint brand in partnership with City and Lamar County Chamber of Commerce
- Purchased equipment for Paris Junior College to support industry training needs
- Strengthened relations with A&M Commerce by hosting Business to Industry Day
- Implemented a formal business survey program in partnership with Paris Junior College
- Advocated for and will financially support the City in a housing study
- Secured $1.3 million in EDA grant funding to improve the NW Industrial Park and 34th Street
Despite all the good news, there are still many questions about how the economy will be impacted by inflation, rising interest rates, and ongoing challenges in supply chains. We recognize this uncertainty and will continue to monitor the landscape as we shape our outlook moving forward. All things considered; we continue to remain optimistic about the future economic climate.
We are experiencing exceptional momentum with the launch of our new brand in collaboration with the City of Paris, Chamber and Visit Paris as well as recent job announcements, downtown revitalization, planned infrastructure improvements, and more. I am confident in the future of this community and the PEDC as we are supported by outstanding leadership comprised of the PEDC Board of Directors, County Commissioners Court, and Paris City Council.
TOTAL IMPACT OF PROJECTS SUPPORTED BY PEDC
(2020 – 2023)
1,045 Direct Jobs
$52 million in Annual Payroll
$319 million in New Capital Investment