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Kilgore EDC Celebrates Industry

More than 100 economic development partners gathered in October at Jack Ryan’s Steak and Chophouse to celebrate industry in Kilgore.   Kilgore Economic Development Corp. hosted the event and thanked industry representatives for the important role they play in the local economy.
‘Industry makes Kilgore a special place,’ says KEDC President Bryan Johnston. ‘It is our goal at KEDC to serve industry well.’
The KEDC board of directors believes that meeting the needs of existing industry is a vital component of the program of work and has funded dedicated business retention personnel, which many economic development organizations have not done.
Workforce development initiatives figure prominently in meeting those needs.  The Advanced Technology Center at 4005 FM 349 houses the Kilgore College Advanced Welding Academy along with industrial space and was designed and constructed as a direct response to industry needs.  McClung Energy Services is now leasing and expanding the industrial space and is working with the AWA to hire its students.
Incentives also are to encourage local growth and retention of capital investment and primary jobs and are not just used to attract new companies.  KEDC recently worked with Pak-Sher and Closure Systems International to help solve an issue both were having with rail deliveries. And during the last fiscal year KEDC supported new and retained capital investment of almost $73 million and the retention and creation of 764 jobs from existing employers. Total new and retained capital investment totaled just more than $81 million with a total of 861 retained or created jobs under contract.
‘Industry brings tremendous value to Kilgore and its residents,’ says Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin, ‘and supports quality of life for us all.’
In most cities the distribution of tax value between residential property to industrial property is weighted to residential value, sometimes as much as 6:1 in other Gregg County areas.   In Kilgore, the distribution of value between residential and industrial is 1:2, shifting the property tax burden from Kilgore residents.
In addition to representatives of industry, attendees at the event included elected and appointed city officials and other economic development partners such as Kilgore College, Kilgore ISD and the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce.
During the past five years, KEDC staff has closed projects representing a total of more than $133 million in new and retained capital investment and 2,600 retained or created jobs under contract. KEDC is an organization founded in 1990 and funded by a dedicated sales tax approved by voters. It is directed by a five-person board and managed by a staff of four with certifications in economic development and economic development finance.  KEDC has won international awards for excellence in economic development.