A $1,575,000 loan from the WV Economic Development Authority will help a local businessman put 30 people to work.
EDA Executive David Warner said the loan, approved at the authority’s Feb. 16 meeting, will be used to help businessman Dave Maple purchase some of the existing equipment at the Ball Corp. plant in Weirton’s Half Moon Industrial Park.
Maple, a Jefferson County (Ohio) commissioner, at one time had worked in management at Ball, which announced last year it would close its Weirton operation in the first quarter of 2017.
Warner said the state is “pleased to help with the opportunity to replace some of those jobs and with the potential for expanded employment by Maple Manufacturing in coming years.”
“Obviously, it’s not as many jobs as were lost but they’re quickly replacing some of the jobs,” Warner said. “And, hopefully, it will help them grow and become a major employer in future in the Weirton area.
Maple “will be manufacturing similar products at that location (to) what Ball had made,” Warner said.
Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle, said Maple Manufacturing fits the “value-added metals niche” a 2010 marketing study pegged as growth opportunities for the region.
“What’s excited us about this proposal is that it preserved 30 jobs,” Ford said. “It’s not going to replace the 300 we lost, but I think it’s one of those businesses that fills a niche market that could very well put a huge dent in that void (down the road). We’re very excited about the opportunity this business has not only for the Half Moon Industrial Park, but also the City of Weirton.”