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United States Gypsum Company Invests $19 million To Upgrade Oakfield, New York, Paper Mill

Area Development Online News Desk (06/02/2014)
United States Gypsum Company, a subsidiary of building products company USG Corporation, will invest $19 million to upgrade its paper mill operations in Oakfield, Genesee County, New York.

USG has had operations in Oakfield since 1902. After exploring its options at paper mills it owns throughout the country, the firm decided to invest in machinery upgrades and utility improvements in Oakfield, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office said. The project will ensure the future of the paper mill and retain 98 jobs in addition to the 12 new positions it will create.

“USG’s decision to strengthen its operations in Western New York is another example that the Upstate economy is coming back,” Governor Cuomo said. “By supporting this expansion, we are securing and creating more than 100 jobs in the region and paving the way for continued growth by an employer with more than a century of history in Genesee County. Our administration is committed to supporting the manufacturing industry which is the backbone of the Upstate economy.”

“We are grateful to the State of New York and its economic development partners for their coordinated effort to create a package of financial incentives that make it possible for USG to reinvest in our Oakfield paper mill,” said USG President/CEO James S. Metcalf. “We look forward to continuing our long history in the community, which has produced an excellent work force for our operations for more than 100 years.”

The Oakfield facility once made USG’s SHEETROCK Brand wallboard but that operation closed in 2001. The plant now makes the paper for the “back side” of wallboard—wallboard has a front side with a white paper and a back side with brown paper. The Oakfield facility was at a real risk of closure as other USG owned plants have the capability to produce both types of paper, according to state officials. The Oakfield paper mill goes through 250 tons of old corrugated waste daily, making it a major recycler in New York State.

USG qualified for up to $665,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits and a $400,000 capital grant from the state in return for its proposed $19 million investment and job creation commitments. The company also received an $180,000 Community Development Block Grant from New York State Homes and Community Renewal and is currently applying for a grant from National Grid to assist with electrical infrastructure upgrades.

“USG’s investment in Genesee Country sends a strong message that New York is competitive and able to retain the types of businesses that make this state tick,” said Empire State Development President, CEO/Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “I am pleased that ESD partnered with its fellow state agencies, as well as National Grid, to encourage this leading manufacturer to upgrade its operations in the Empire State.”

National Grid Regional Executive Dennis Elsenbeck said, “Our Capital Investment Incentive Grant Program was created to help companies who are looking to grow and expand. We are pleased to be working with USG on an application that could bring them up to $250,000 to assist with the necessary upgrades and expansion of their electrical system to meet their needs today and tomorrow.”

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