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Springfield company may add 150 jobs, seek tax credits

Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. — a top 25 employer in Clark County — may be adding 150 jobs to its Springfield location.

Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said he doesn’t know the details of the project, but said it includes about 150 new jobs.

“It’s a major commitment to the Clark County community. I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

The company, located at 600 Benjamin Drive in the Prime Ohio Corporate Park, is seeking incentives from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. It is expected to appear before the state board on Monday morning, according to an agenda released Friday.

No further information was released by the Ohio Development Services Agency and a public records request from the Springfield News-Sun wasn’t fulfilled by Friday evening. An official announcement might be released Monday afternoon, if any project is approved, according to Stephanie Gostomski, public information officer at the Ohio Development Services Agency.

“We can’t give out any details on the project,” she said.

Representatives contacted at the Springfield Dole plant declined to comment and calls to the corporate headquarters in California weren’t returned. Officials from the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce declined to comment Friday on the project.

The city of Springfield will also provide some type of incentives, according to Mayor Warren Copeland.

“Whenever new jobs are brought to the community, there are usually incentives provided by the city and that’s the case here, too,” Copeland said.

Both the recent Speedway and Dole announcements are good momentum for the community.

“We need to keep at it,” Copeland said.

Dole has had about 800 hourly employees in recent years, according to earlier Springfield News-Sun reports.

Jobs at Dole include lettuce trimming, cutting, washing, drying, packaging and shipping. A separate quality assurance team performs maintenance and sanitation.

Its Springfield plant is about 175,000 square feet and valued at $9.1 million, according to the Clark County Auditor’s Office. The company purchased the site in 1997.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority is an independent board that reviews and approves applications for tax credit assistance.

Springfield is in a central location, Detrick said, and that contributed to the continued growth in the area. He also credited the efforts of the chamber of commerce for working with the company.

Lehan Peters, deputy director of OhioMeansJobs of Clark County, said she hasn’t been informed about a possible Dole expansion.

But with Speedway recently announcing plans to add 350 new jobs and more local manufacturing companies hiring, Peters said OhioMeansJobs and Clark State Community College are working together to establish a skilled workforce in the area.

“We are gearing up, ramping up for future expansion from any of the employers here in Clark County, as well as potential job growth or new jobs coming in,” she said.

Dole, one of the world’s largest producers of fresh fruit and vegetables, ranked 96th on Forbes Magazine’s list of America’s Largest Private Companies after generating about $4.25 billion in revenue in 2013.

The company, headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., does business in more than 90 countries and employs about 36,000 full-time, regular employees and 23,000 full-time seasonal or temporary employees worldwide, according to its website.

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