Game is on to revive Ford Stamping Plant

Reported by Rob Wiercinski email | bio

Posted by Kate Oatis email

MAUMEE (WTOL) - A deal's in the works to revive the former Ford Stamping Plant, located in Maumee on Illinois Ave.

Keith Obey heads up Maumee Authority Stamping Inc. (MAS) and says that work inside the plant can resume as early as Oct. 1, if his effort to purchase and start a new stamping operation is successful. If the deal is finalized, about 130 people would work at the facility.

Help may soon come from Lucas County to make that happen. On Tuesday, the Lucas County Commissioners will discuss whether or not to authorize a $1.5 million loan for the venture.

"The key is, is it going to be a short term loan, is it going to have high return, is it going to create jobs quickly in the near term? I think this deal fits all three criteria for me," said Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken.

The City of Maumee is also lining up to lend a helping hand.

"The city has indicated we will extend support through our jobs grant program. It's a program that's worked effectively for us filling vacancies in Arrowhead Park and assisting new ventures as well," said Maumee City Administrator John Jezak.

Pumping new life into the plant isn't viewed as a matter of if, but when.

"I think we've seen interest from other parties that are out there that want to take a look and do something with the facility if the MAS proposal doesn't go forward, but I think MAS is going to be successful," Jezak said.

For Gerken, success will depend on the new company creating a diverse customer base and not relying solely on automotive stamping business.

"In the long haul we know that has to be a diverse stamping plant, do wind pieces, it's got to do turbine pieces, alternative energy pieces -- and it can; the equipment's in there and we have the skills here to do it," Gerken said.

There will be discussion at Tuesday's meeting to show potential private investors there is interest in the community for the project. A vote on the $1.5 million loan isn't expected until next week.