Troy misses industry, but

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 1999

recruitment effort not wasted


Staff Writer

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Dec. 1, 1999 10 PM

Although a division of Sikorsky Support Services, Inc., looking to relocate to Troy decided to stay in Florida, Troy officials are calling the effort to bring the business here a success.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce made the announcement last week that the facility will not be coming to town. Still, officials say that hard work and a solid recruitment proposal demonstrate that vigilence gets attention.

Though Sikorsky declined the proposal, company officials were complimentary of the Troy plan. Instead, the chose to keep the facility in its current location because of a proposal offered through the state of Florida.

Sikorsky announced two months ago it was closing a plant in West Palm Beach, Fla. and looking for a relocation site, said Chamber President Marsha Gaylard.The operation was seeking to relocate because it lost the lease on its facility there.

Troy was being considered because another division of Sikorsky Support Services is already located here and the company owns 63 acres at the Troy Municipal Airport, she said.

However, what is done at the two facilities is unrelated, Gaylard added. The Florida plant is a development flight center used for flight testing, data processing and aircraft certification for the new Comanche helicopter.

"Once the comanche is totally developed, it will be flight tested and trained at Fort Rucker," she said. "It would have been advantageous to Fort Rucker to have this facility in the area."

Sikorsky was considering relocation to other Alabama cities, including Huntsville, Dothan and Enterprise. Cities in Arizona and Maryland were also being considered.

If the industry had decided to move, it would have led to "astronomical relocation costs," Gaylard said. About 200 families would have been affected.

"They asked the state to come up with $12 million in relocation costs and no state would come up with the money," she said.

Florida offered assistance for Sikorsky to stay in that state, but Gaylard said she did not know the nature of that arrangement.

Both Gaylard and Troy Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford are calling the effort a success because of the hard work that was put forth in the recruitment process.

"They were very complimentary of our proposal," she said. "We were being highly considered.

"It is understandable they decided to stay where they were because of the relocation costs. We wish the best luck to them.

"Right now, we have a lot of different prospects, and it’s always good to examine the assets of your community," Gaylard said.

Lunsford commended the chamber staff and Shelia Jackson, the city’s administrative assistant, who "worked day and night to put the proposal together."

"We would have had an excellent chance for them to relocate here if they had decided to relocate," he said. "We look forward to the continued growth of the existing facility at Sikorsky.

"The federal defense budget continues to be favorable to industries here."