On July 7, the Fort Smith Board of Directors discussed a prospective expansion of the Gerber Products Company in Fort Smith through the use of $30 million in industrial revenue bonds.
The Gerber expansion, also known as Project Best-In-Class, will include house food processing, manufacturing equipment, associated machinery and infrastructure improvements at the facility on 4301 Harriet Drive.
“We understand the competitive nature of this project and we are willing to take steps to secure the project in Fort Smith,” said City Administrator Carl Geffken in a letter to Price Waterhouse Coopers. “Therefore, pending retention of the 480 current employees, the hiring of 25 new positions over the next 36 months at an average wage of $21.00 per hour according to the schedule and requirements below, and Fort Smith Board of Director’s approval, the City of Forth Smith is making a financial incentive offer using Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB) and a Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) incentive program.”
The expansion of Gerber Products Company is expected to have a positive economic impact for the Fort Smith manufacturing community.
“First and foremost, [the expansion] solidifies Gerber in Fort Smith,” Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman said.
According to Dingman, the project will immediately add 25 new employees and grow from there.
“We are very pleased that Gerber has decided to make this investment because it ensures Gerber will be in town for a while,” Dingman said.