Crownline Boat plant to reopen - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Crownline Boat plant to reopen

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By Julia Bruck - bioemail

WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - There is good news for job seekers in southern Illinois.  The Crownline Boats plant in West Frankfort is expected to open once again. 

However, this time it's under new ownership.  We're told upper management spent Monday at the plant preparing for it to reopen and word is spreading fast.

In this Franklin County community of more than 12,000 good news moves quickly, especially when it comes to job these days.

"I'm so thankful that people are going to get jobs," said West Frankfort resident Eloise DeLap.  "I just hope they hire the people that were laid off."  

"If it opens it means more jobs for people," said Rebecca Vaughn.  "We can get people off the streets here."

Franklin County Regional Economic Development Executive Director William Dill says the new owners of Crownline plan to hire between 100 to 125 new employees.

"After that particular point in time the economy will dictate how many more people they (need) to have and how soon they have to have it," Dill said.

The company manufactures large boats at the West Frankfort plant.  During the month of December, production is usually down.  At the time, hundreds of employees were laid off but expected to return to work.  However, a company spokesperson said Crownline would not resume full production due to financial reasons.  About that time West Frankfort's mayor along with others stepped in to help and looked for someone to buy the company.

"Tony Zielinski and Dave and Lisa Wilson they are in the marine business and they are going to move the company forward at a very fast rate," Dill added.

"It's not just for West Frankfort it's for the whole area you know," said West Frankfort Mayor Marion Presley.  "Everybody is not just going to be from West Frankfort that gets hired."

Dill says the new Crownline owners plan to get the boat plant back up and running as soon as possible.  To do that, employees are needed.  Dill says a job fair is expected in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile, a ribbon cutting is set for Wednesday morning to celebrate Crownline's reopening.

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