East Texas officials hopeful for regional success despite foundry closing

East Texas officials hopeful for regional success despite foundry closing
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

Officials from all across East Texas remain hopeful for the region's stability despite the announced closure of the GE Oil & Gas Foundry in Lufkin.

The foundry was not on the monthly Deep East Texas Council of Governments monthly agenda, but it was on their minds.

"Unfortunately since the acquisition of Lufkin Industries by General Electric, we really haven't had any good news come out," State Representative Trent Ashby said.

In a month's time, the machines will stop and the noise will become mute one of East Texas' longest running facilities. DETCOG Director Walter Diggles said the closing will impact just more than Lufkin. Diggles said he believes the impact will be felt across the entire 12-county area.

"Lufkin has been the center for economic activity for our region," Diggles said. "It will have a tremendous impact."

Diggles said he hopes that federal grants for upstart businesses will attract new vendors to the area.

"We hope this money that is a forgivable loan will be used by some of the businesses there to create some jobs," Diggles said.

Nacogdoches city Manager Jim Jeffers said he knows Lufkin's neighbors to the north will see some red from the Foundry closure and job cuts and the city is already monitoring their numbers.

"We always track those issues," Jeffers said. "We will follow our sales tax and other impacts they will have on the community."

Some are already looking to other companies to become leaders in the region when it comes to industrial jobs.

"We need to put our shoulder to the wheel," Ashby said. "We need to stick together and try to attract new industry new business."

Trinity County Judge Steve Page said companies have began to move in that could replace the foundry and become major players in the region.

"Hopefully, we got some other avenues coming online like Roy O Martin OSB plant in Corrigan," Page said. "We possibly have a biofuel plant coming online here in Groveton, which can offset some of the losses."

On top of the foundry closing, GE also announced more job cuts to the Buck Creek facility south of Lufkin.

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.