By Chuck McClanahan
Mayor of Corsicana
For the City of Corsicana, the year 2012 proved to be a challenging one with job losses and gains across sectors of the local economy.
Commencing in February 2012, losses of jobs in Corsicana were realized after Snyder’s-Lance Foods, Inc. closed the Corsicana plant and approximately 100 employees were laid off. Lance made the business decision to close the facility prior to fulfillment of the tax abatement agreement with the City. The tax incentives extended to the company have been repaid to the City in the amount of $100,675.
At the end of June, the Kohl’s Call Center was relocated to Desoto which resulted in all employees either transferred or dismissed. In July, the Home Depot Distribution Center relocated to Dallas and all employees were either transferred to the Dallas facility or became unemployed. The City is actively pursuing recoupment of all of the amounts previously abated under the tax abatement agreements.
The good news is that both new industrial jobs and new capital investments were created in Corsicana. In September 2012, Pactiv Corporation announced that it is expanding the Corsicana operation by building a state-of-the-art, 150,000 square foot addition to the existing facility on Highway 31. The Pactiv expansion project will add $58 million in capital improvements and 200 new jobs for the Corsicana area over the next three years. During the past year, Corsicana Bedding, Inc. added 100 new employees. In addition, Guardian Corporation, Inc. increased the number of full time employees by 14 in 2012, or an employment increase of about 4 percent. Also, Enterprise Precast Concrete, Inc. is creating approximately 75 new jobs related to the new capital investment of roughly $3 million. Both of the former Columbia Manufacturing plants in Corsicana have new tenants: Screen Fab, LLC opened in Corsicana creating six new jobs in the facility located at 2235 South US Highway 75; and Freedom Fence created 15 jobs with the expansion in the facility located at 9001 Navarro Road.
The Corsicana medical and health care community is certainly strong. The City of Corsicana designated Navarro Regional Hospital as a Texas Enterprise Zone project so that an estimated $11.4 million could be invested in capital improvements which will retain approximately 434 existing jobs and create two new jobs. During 2012, in excess of $920,770 in capital assets were placed into service including a replacement chiller, an ultrasound machine, and computer equipment at the hospital. Some of the many medical and health related expansions in Corsicana include Lott’s Physical Therapy and Fitness Center that opened at 1026 West 2nd Avenue creating approximately 10 new jobs, and also Navarro Dental Center opened a new location at 1661 West 2nd Avenue creating about eight new jobs.
The recent $1.6 million expansion of the Cook Education Center, located on the main campus of Navarro College, doubled the size of the atrium and expanded the seating capacity. The center now features state-of-the-art audio/visual/lighting technology. The Arrowhead Collection that has been housed for many years in the Gooch Center will be moved to the Cook Center to make it more accessible to students and the public. The exhibit will become the fourth major venue in the facility, along with the planetarium, the Civil War museum, and the western art gallery.
The many activities held at the I.O.O.F. Event Center have resulted in significant economic impact for Corsicana. For example, the I.O.O.F. General Session now takes place in Corsicana annually resulting in over 110 hotel rooms being used in March. During July 2012, the first gun show held in Corsicana in over 10 years was hosted at the event center with attendance exceeding 3,000! On Friday, October 19th, the community was privileged to have three Congressional Medal of Honor holders speak to the citizens and student leaders from Collins Middle School and Corsicana High School. Representatives were selected to be given the opportunity to participate in a Q & A session with American heroes. These honored guests were: Patrick H. Brady, Major, US Army; Harold Fritz, First Lieutenant, US Army; and, Roger H.C. Donlon, Captain, US Army.
During 2012, long time Corsicana favorites Roy’s Café, Caleb’s Diner, and Two Doors Down Coffee Shop were closed. However, the Corsicana Downtown District experienced in excess of $1.3 million in capital reinvestment that includes 17 building rehabilitation projects with two new residential units being added to the inventory of property. Also, new sidewalks and three new ADA compliant ramps have been installed and 36 new benches have been placed in the downtown district.
Corsicana welcomed new openings of restaurants and retail stores including Steele’s and Rue 21, each creating approximately 25 new jobs. Both opened in the College Park Mall as a result of new entrances constructed on the west side of the mall. In addition, Beall’s retail store relocated to the north end of the College Park Mall and is now located in the space that was formerly Goody’s. The Corsicana Crossing retail center, located at the intersection of I-45 and US 287, will become the new home for a Schlotzsky’s restaurant that will be located adjacent to the Applebee’s on Mountain Drive. A Whataburger restaurant will also be located on Mountain Drive between Applebee’s and the Collin Street Bakery. Other projects in progress include a convenience store and a Taco Casa on east State Highway 31 near Interstate 45 and a convenience store and office space at the intersection of State Highway 31 and 45th Street. During 2012, the Planning and Zoning office issued 67 certificates of occupancy for new businesses. In the vicinity of the Corsicana Crossing at 3600 South US 287, a Dollar General Store was opened in the fall of 2012.
Stuart Beebe recognized the importance of group play for children and he had a love for baseball. From his vision, the Youth Baseball Association and the Girls Softball Association have developed outstanding programs. The City of Corsicana has started work on the Athletic Complex on 45th Street. The complex will include a pavilion, playground, walking trail, basketball court, volleyball court, restroom and concession stand and six new baseball fields. The City is accepting private contributions to enhance the project. Anyone desiring to contribute to the effort should contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (903) 654-4874.
I ask again that you please support the businesses and establishments in our community. There are many good things happening and I hope to have more good news in an upcoming letter.