As we conclude our 2022-2023 fiscal year, I am reminded how fortunate I am to work alongside the PEDC Board and serve our wonderful community. Our efforts in Paris and Lamar County have supported the growth of new businesses and development, contributing to remarkable progress and success over the last 12 months. This progress will have a significant economic impact, estimated to exceed $900 million over the next decade. These achievements include supporting the creation of 280 new jobs, the retention of 190 jobs, and planned investments totaling $110 million in new construction and machinery.
Lamar County continues to build a reputation for a strong and successful workforce, with manufacturing alone accounting for approximately 25% of our total workforce. The growth we are experiencing extends beyond job opportunities and can be seen in various aspects of our community. Infrastructure projects and improvements, such as the planned four-laning of HWY 82 and enhancements to segments of Loop 286 by TxDOT, not only promise increased mobility and safety but also enhance our competitive advantage for larger economic development projects.
The investment in and transformation of Downtown Paris, the construction of new hotels, ongoing housing projects, and the growth of community events all serve as evidence of a vibrant and rising community. Together, these initiatives are putting Paris, Texas, and Lamar County on the map, showcasing a community on the rise and exemplifying our new tagline – Where Texans Reach Higher.
As we enter the new fiscal year, we believe it is important to reflect on our achievements from FY 2022-2023 that have contributed to the economic landscape of Paris and Lamar County. Here’s a recap:
Attraction Project Wins
• Universal Fabricating Inc.: Announced in March 2023, this project brings 100 new quality jobs, a $15 million planned investment, and renovation of an existing 175,000 facility.
• Ametsa Packaging: Announced in April 2023, this project creates 100 new quality jobs and involves a $9 million planned investment that includes equipment and renovating an existing 350,000 SF facility.
Retention and Expansion Project Wins
• Huhtamaki: Announced in August 2023, this project brings 80 new quality jobs and $85 million in planned new investment for expansion.
• Approved the 2023-2025 Plan of Work.
• Launched a new joint brand with the City and Lamar County Chamber of Commerce.
• Acquired 123 acres on SE Loop 286 for future industrial development.
• Secured $1.3 million in EDA grant funding to improve the NW Industrial Park and 34th Street.
• Submitted 54 project proposals.
• Supported various startups, from tech-based to retailers.
• Received the 2022 Partnership Award from Workforce Solutions for workforce development efforts.
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Strong partnerships with the County, City, Chamber of Commerce, Paris Junior College, and others have been instrumental in our success. However, it is the exceptional leadership of the PEDC Board of Directors that has truly been the driving force behind our achievements. Chairperson Josh Bray, Vice Chairperson Curtis Fendley, Secretary/Treasurer Chase Coleman, Dr. AJ Hashmi, Mark Homer, Erik Roddy, and Stephen Terrell have consistently demonstrated unwavering dedication and commitment to their roles as board members. Their contributions have been key to our progress.
Looking ahead, we remain committed to bringing more jobs to Paris and Lamar County. As the primary driver of growth and development, we understand that success goes beyond attraction, retention, and expansion projects. We recognize the importance of initiatives related to talent development, quality of life, affordable housing, and more. As we embark on the 2023-2024 fiscal year, the PEDC will continue to fulfill its core mission while actively supporting diverse initiatives that contribute to our collective success and the overall prosperity of our community. Together, we’ll continue making great things happen!
Total FY 2023 Economic Impact
Jobs: 280 new jobs and 190 retained jobs
Capital Expenditure (CAPEX): $110 Million
Total 10-Year Impact: $933 Million
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