Natron and other economic opportunities progressing

From staff and press reports


With contractors walking the floors, the sound of equipment working outside and lights turned on inside, Natron Wood Products is coming to life.

With many of the building repair contracts and equipment contracts awarded for the project, the company representatives and Louisville Mayor Will Hill see the ongoing work as moving closer to the days of production and the first product coming out of the plant. Officials estimate it may be four months before the building repairs, equipment placement and other projects are completed before the plant will be up and running.

The former Georgia Pacific building is being repaired after G.P. completed salvage operations on the project. The refurbishment phase of the project has already brought construction and other employment opportunities to the county and Louisville. Louisville aldermen awarded several contracts in September to repair and make electrical upgrades to the city owned building. The funds for the repairs are from a $3 million the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a $20,000 TVA electrical grant.

Once the 265,000-square-foot facility is refurbished and repaired, Natron Wood Products plans to produce specialty plywood products. Natron Wood Products offers a line of plywood overlay panels, which are commonly referred to as Medium Density Overlay and High Density Overlay. The panels are used primarily in large vertical and horizontal concrete structures and other residential and commercial construction applications. The facility will also produce high-grade marine plywood and sanded plywood products.

The industry will represent an investment of $10 million and will create about 200 new direct jobs and possibly up to 600 indirect jobs. The direct positions will be persons working for Natron Wood Products on the site. The indirect jobs calculated from the industry includes loggers, fuel stations and other related activities to the creation of plywood.

Natron Wood Products operates as Jasper Wood Products in Jasper, Ore., where the company has been in business for more than 20 years. There, the company produces a number of timber products, including marine plywood, millworks, plyform for heavy concrete pours and interior and exterior fire retardant treating.

The former Georgia Pacific building where Natron is locating operated for 40 years at the facility and employed about 300 people when it went idle in 2009 and closed completely in 2011.

GP turned over the facility to the city after the final closing and moving of some equipment.

Louisville Railcar Repair business

The tracks to new jobs are being laid as the railroad works with Louisville Railcar Repair and the city of Louisville near the transload facility near Baremore Street.

The Louisville Railcar Repair business could bring 30 jobs to the area once the railcar repair business has the tracks laid and a building placed on site to house the cars as they are being repaired.

The City’s trans load facility is an unique project in the country where area companies can load and offload materials and products from the railroad on city property located near the railroad. Several area businesses use the site for product delivery. Mayor Hill noted that the trucks and business the site bring through the area help the economy as well.

In the same area, the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA continue to oversee the cleanup of the former American Creosote site. When the site cleanup is completed the City of Louisville will have about 100 acre industrial track to offer tentative companies.

The goal for completing the almost $20 million project is May 2015 when the city and county will receive the industrial park land for redevelopment.