published Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

State rep praises additional grant for Wacker

NASHVILLE — A proposed $34.6 million state grant for Wacker Chemical’s plant near Cleveland is drawing praise from a Bradley County lawmaker.

Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, said it will make a “welcome gift” for German company’s April 8 groundbreaking ceremony.

“They have greatly increased their investment so we are reciprocating from the state by helping them with infrastructure and things needed to be done to get that site ready,” Brooks said. “I’m very grateful the state is still able to do that.”

The plant was to employ 500 workers, but in December, Wacker officials announced they were expanding their investment from $1 billion to $1.45 billion and employing an additional 150 people.

The plant, located in northern Bradley County, will manufacture polysilicon used in solar panels.

Gov. Bill Haslam included the Wacker grant in his proposed 2011-2012 budget, unveiled Monday. If approved, it would provide $5.2 million in cash and $29.4 million in bonds to assist with infrastructure at the plant.

The governor also recommended a $3.1 million “Fast Track” training grant.

The money would come on top of a $64.2 million infrastructure grant approved last spring for Wacker.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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