Labor grant to help market Cooper site

ALBANY -- The state's top labor official will be in Albany Wednesday to give a boost to those in government who are trying to find a new industry to take over the Cooper Tire and Rubber plant site.

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will present a $25,000 grant to the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission, state labor officials announced Monday.

The grant will go to help market the 1.8 million square foot site, which was left vacant by Cooper officials when they decided to close the Albany plant in 2009, leaving nearly 1,300 without work.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard briefly mentioned the meeting during Monday's commission meeting and urged his fellow commissioners to attend.

Thurmond will be joined by members of the EDC as well as State Rep. Winfred Dukes, who praised Thurmond's decision to provide the grant.

"As a community, we are very appreciative that Commissioner Thurmond and the Georgia Department of Labor are providing this much-needed funding," Dukes said.

"The creation of jobs and employing our people is the number one issue facing our local leadership. A similar grant to Lumpkin County enabled its economic development authority to attract a buyer for a building vacated by a textile manufacturer. The new food manufacturer will initially employ 150 workers and plans to eventually have 1,000 employees. We are optimistic that we will have the same kind of success here in Albany."