Lured by a vacant plant and its laid-off printers -- and coaxed with $1.465 million in government incentives -- a Canadian company will invest $8 million to turn an empty Eastern Shore business-forms shop into a 150-worker label-making facility.
Aluglass Packaging Inc., will invest $8 million to refurbish and reopen the plant vacated in November by Moore Business Forms Inc., which laid off 200 workers at its facility at Snow Hill in Worcester County.
"We are very excited that Aluglass has chosen Worcester County for their new facility," said Floyd Bassett, president of the Worcester County Commission.
"This project will provide good jobs for our citizens and also give the area a much-needed economic boost."
Worcester County has had some of Maryland's most persistent economic troubles, with unemployment steadily running double the state rate.
The county's unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in April, the latest month for which the state Department of Economic and Employment Development has county figures.
The state unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in April.
That was in some ways an advantage when Aluglass looked for an East Coast site, company officials hinted yesterday while attending a ribbon-cutting to kick off the renovation.
In Snow Hill, "we found a trained and highly educated work force, an existing printing facility, accessibility by air, rail and road, and also a sense that we were wanted, that everyone we met would lend us whatever support we needed," said Bob Smith, president of Aluglass.
The core of the incentives package is $725,000 in federal and state Community Development Block Grant funds to Worcester County, which will be supplemented by $140,000 in county funds to purchase the 112,400-square-foot building and its eight-acre site.
In addition, the state will put up $100,000 to train workers, and the company will receive a $500,000 loan from the Southern Eastern Shore Revolving Loan Fund, which is administered by the Rural Development Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore using money from the state Sunny Day Fund and the federal Economic Development Administration.
State officials attending yesterday's ceremony stressed cooperation between state and local economic development officials.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening praised the growing collaboration between government and private business to expand local economies.
"This collaborative effort means more jobs and economic growth for the people of Maryland," Mr. Glendening said.