November 08, 2014

Eagle expansion shared with Manchin | Herald-Star

WELLSBURG - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was on hand Friday to congratulate the management and staff of Eagle Manufacturing on an upcoming major expansion and hear concerns from public officials and residents about various issues.

Joe Eddy, president of Eagle Manufacturing, said new production innovation, expanded production capacity and overall expanded space will help the 120-year-old company to grow.

He shared with Manchin and many area public officials and other guests news that the 120-year-old company will be opening a new metal fabrication department at the former Pillsbury building on Maple Avenue and expanding its warehouse on Commerce Street (state Route 2) to 90,000 square feet.

EXPANDING — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., listened as Joe Eddy, president of Eagle Manufacturing, announced news for expansion during a visit Friday to the company’s plastics warehouse. - Warren Scott

Used for many years to produce paper bags for flour sold by the Pillsbury Co., the 48,000 square foot building will be used to manufacture a new line of metal bollards (posts used to prevent vehicles from striking buildings and other property), machine guards and spill containment pallets.

The 120-year-old company produces more than 1,000 types of industrial safety and hazardous material handling products.

Eddy also unveiled plans for a 50,000 square foot expansion of the 40,000 square foot plastics warehouse it built at the intersection of Commerec and 22nd streets last year.

The warehouse was built at the former site of Banner Fiberboard, which underwent an environmental cleanup through grants secured by the Brooke-Hancock Regional Development Council.

"We are in the process of finalizing construction bids, securing financing and otaining approvals for the project. We expect to complete the approval process in December and start construction in early March," he said.

Eddy said the addition will allow the facility to be used as Eagle's main distribution center and bring the amount of land occupied by Eagle operations in the city to more than 750,000 square feet, or more than 17 acres.

He said Eagle has ordered two new plastic processing systems, including a 500-ton structural foam injection molding system, that will allow the company to expand its plastics production by 25 percent.

Eddy said the new facilities and equipment will amount to an investment of at least $10 million and will create many new jobs.

Manchin said the news is very welcome at a time when many young West Virginians feel they must leave the state to find work.

He said as a member of Congress he can work to turn the tide of manufacturing jobs leaving the country by repealing a corporate tax structure that benefits American companies that take their operations overseas.

Manchin added he will continue to oppose trade agreements that give foreign companies that employ workers at low wages and under poor working conditions an advantage over domestic ones.

"That's not how we built this company. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican, that doesn't make sense," he said.

"My hat's off to Eagle for making this investment," Manchin said.

Manchin also met earlier with Wellsburg city officials to discuss issues of concern to them, including the Biggerts Water Act.

The federal legislation was aimed at helping the Federal Emergency Management Agency to overcome millions of dollars in claims filed following Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. But it also has resulted in dramatic increases in flood insurance rates for residents in Wellsburg's flood plain.

Manchin said rates for those covered by the federal flood insurance program should be based on the frequency of floods and level of damage typical for a given area.

"The flood plain here isn't a devastating one," he said, adding he would like to see a ratings system employed for those with flood insurance.

Manchin said the higher rates prevent people from selling their homes and deter new residents from buying homes in a designated flood zone.

"It basically stymies everything," he said.

Mayor Sue Simonetti asked Manchin to consider holding one of his town hall meetings, where he discusses various issues, in the city, and he agreed.

By:  Warren Scott