By Rebekah Martin
Hanwha Advanced Materials America, LLC recently announced a $20 million expansion project that will add 100 new jobs over three years. This expansion is the company’s seventh since opening its Opelika facility in 2005. Hanwha will have a total of $80 million in total capital investment when the project is completed.
The Opelika City Council approved a project agreement and certain tax abatements for the company at last week’s regular council meeting.
“It is truly an honor when existing industries continue to grow and invest in our community. We are glad to assist Hanwha in their continued success,” said Mayor Gary Fuller in a press release.
According to information provided by the city, Hanwha is a tier- one supplier to Hyundai Motors Manufacturing of Alabama and Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, and produces an array of products, including headliners, underbody shields and bumper back beams.
City council members also approved tax abatements for two other Opelika companies seeking to expand. Thompson Tractor will soon build a 12,700- square-foot Caterpillar dealership on Columbus Parkway, investing between $3 million and $3.5 million. Pharmavite has plans to expand its existing facility located at 4701 Northpark Drive, investing nearly $7 million in the project. Thompson Tractor’s expansion is expected to create 10 new full-time jobs, while Pharmavite will add 26 positions.
Mayor Gary Fuller also read several proclamations at last week’s meeting, including the 2017 Relay for Life, Parental Alienation Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Fuller, along with OCS superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors and OHS principal Dr. Farrell Seymore, recognized OHS seniors Weldrin Ford and RaKavius Chambers. Ford and Chambers have recently received numerous academic, football and leadership awards.
In other business, the council:
-approved a temporary street closure request for the Downtown Bike Race to be held May 5.
-approved a request for the 2017 Run to Read event to be held October 21.
-reappointed Phil Adams to the Public Parks and Recreation Board with a term expiring May 2023.
-appointed Ken Ridley to the LRCOG/MPO Citizen Advisory Committee with a term ending April 2019.