Medical and recreational industry custom foam fabricator Rogers Foam Corp. will open a 50,000-square-foot facility in Mount Sterling, Ky., in January, state and company officials said Oct. 30. William Bonaccorso, general manager of the plant 30 miles east of Lexington, Ky., said the company hopes to double its manufacturing space in the next five years to accommodate up to 100 workers. In addition to the plant, which state officials said formerly was occupied by Vinyl Tec, Rogers purchased nearly 10 acres of land for later expansion, he said.
The plant, like two other Rogers facilities, will make products from prefoamed block polyethylene and urethane. The company expects initially to employ 15.
Investment in the facility is about $2 million, Bonaccorso said.
The plant also will receive up to $2.9 million in tax incentives over 15 years by its qualification under the Kentucky Rural Economic Development Act, according to Joe Lilly, a spokesman for the state department of economic development in Frankfort.
Lilly said the KREDA program encourages companies to locate in areas of high unemployment in the state by allowing a company to keep a portion of the state employee withholding tax it collects over the 15-year period.
Bonaccorso said customers include manufacturers of surfboards and kneeboards and manufacturers of blood filters. He declined to name companies.
He said the major reasons for moving to the area are its closeness to east-west interstate highways 64 and 75, and that ``regulations here are not overwhelming. The powers that be want you to be here.''
Bonaccorso noted that two buildings away in the same industrial development is Summit Poly-mers Inc., a custom injection molder for the auto industry.
Five years ago, the area's unemployment rate was near 20 percent. Mount Sterling has developed so quickly since then, however, that the town's current unemployment rate, less than 4 percent, soon will exclude it from the KREDA program, Lilly said.
Given the decrease in the area's unemployment, ``We're going to be competing for workers,'' said Bonaccorso. ``My personal goal is to make people part of the company. This is our edge in keeping a work force.''
Rogers Foam has 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space at its headquarters in Somerville, Mass., and another 100,000 in Morrisville, Pa., an eastern suburb of Philadelphia.