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Moraine Makes Economic Headway in Former GM Plant

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Steve Bognar
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Following GM’s pullout of the Moraine Assembly plant, the city lost residents, and an estimated 40 to 50% of its revenue. Five years later the city is working hard to revive Moraine’s economy.  

Moraine’s big revenue losses came as a result of losing GM, Delphi and a number of smaller auto parts contracting businesses. To try and compensate for the losses, the city took a number of steps to curb expenditures – Some city employees were laid off, furloughs were implemented for others, and the water park – Splash Moraine- was closed. 

Revival for the former GM plant began two years ago when IRG, one of the nation’s largest industrial land owners in the country, bought the assembly plant, drew up plans on how to utilize the 400 acre, 4 million sq. ft. facility.

"We're hoping that synergy will start to happen at the sight..."

Mike Davis with Economic development in Moraine says several smaller warehousing businesses have set up shop in the former assembly plant.  According to Davis, those companies have temporary leases, and haven’t created a lot of new jobs but Davis believes others will follow. In fact the plant has just secured a somewhat substantial tenant.

Davis says, “We did ... have the opportunity to celebrate a ribbon cutting and the grand opening of the first true business we’re calling the pioneer, because they’re not really an anchor, they’re taking over about 60,000 sq. ft. but they are the first ones in and they’re presenting the case that others will follow. We’re hoping that synergy will start to happen at the sight, and as folks come in to look at the facility as a prospective location for them, they’re seeing that it can be done.”

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Credit Jerry Kenney
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New Tenant, WCR - Sign of Life Inside Former GM Plant

When GM finally shut its doors in 2008, the final 2400 or so employees were let go, and so finding a major business to serve as the anchor for the facility, and then adding more smaller businesses, would go a long way toward re-purposing the assembly plant.  Davis says that could involve some demolition and the construction of smaller buildings, though this will be determined by market forces.

In the meantime, the city of Moraine will continue to focus on bringing in new business into the city.  They’ve made some progress with Heidelberg moving into the former Cooper Tire plant and other companies that, together, have brought about 500 new jobs to the city.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.