Colbert County hopes it can attract another manufacturer in wake of Freightcar closure

The layoffs will start in November.

Posted: Sep 15, 2020 5:47 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2020 6:45 PM

Freightcar is closing its plant in Colbert County because of the impacts of coronavirus.

About 600 people will be out of a job by February. The company announced it is closing the Barton facility in phases.

Colbert County Commission Chairman Jimmy Gardiner said losing the plant and hundreds of jobs is a blow to the county but he's positive they can get another manufacturer in to take over the facility.

"We have high hopes that we can recover and get something better in there," said Gardiner.

The facility builds freightcars for railroads. The company said it's closing the Colbert County plant because of low demand and the, "Realities of covid-19."

Gardiner said right now it's unclear how this could impact the county's tax revenue, but anytime a huge business leaves it's not good.

"It came down to a money situation. They just weren't making money and decided to leave - I think moving a lot of operations to Mexico and unfortunately cheaper labor," said Gardiner.

Gardiner also said the county’s working with the Shoals Economic Development Authority to find another business to take Freightcars' place, but there’s no timeline for a replacement.

"People are looking at the facility, and of course they aren't at liberty to share that information of what company, but I think it does look promising," said Gardiner.

Freightcar said a majority of the layoffs will be done by December 2020.

WAAY31 is working to learn if Freightcar received any tax incentives to open in the Shoals about 10 years ago and what would happen if promises aren’t fulfilled.

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