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WestRock Plant in Lanett primed for growth

LANETT — The Chambers County Development Authority announced Monday that WestRock Company, a provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, is looking to grow its local operation to accommodate current and future growth.

Chris Busby, community development specialist with the Chambers County Development Authority, said WestRock, located at the Huguley Industrial Park, has been growing and is in need of more room than the company’s current facility can provide.

This is not the first expansion for the company. Since 2011, the company has spent more than $56 million on building additions and new machinery purchases.

The expansion will lead to an additional 50 jobs, mostly production associates for new lines, with a base wage that will be higher than county average. The expansion will also prepare the plant for additional future growth. Employment at the plant has grown from 20 workers in 1996 to almost 300 full-time employees in 2018. Current wages are also above the county average of $16.68 an hour.

According to WestRock, the Lanett project includes a building expansion at its current location, new shipping docks, additional office space, new equipment and other upgrades.

“WestRock is a proud member of the Chambers County community, and we appreciate the support of the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Chambers County Development Authority as we increase the scope of our operations in Lanett,” said Pete Durette, president of WestRock’s Enterprise Solutions. “We look forward to continuing to contribute to Lanett and Chambers County.”

In a related development, a 375,000-square-foot distribution center to support WestRock’s plant in Lanett is planned for a 30-acre site in the Valley Industrial Park. Scannell Properties is developing the distribution center, which is expected to create additional jobs in the area. The distribution center will be located 1.5 miles from the WestRock facility.

Valerie Gray, executive director of the CCDA, said the joint projects will make a significant contribution to the area’s economic vitality.

“WestRock is an outstanding corporate citizen that aligns with the CCDA staff and board’s goals of higher wages and a diversified manufacturing base,” said Gray. “This expansion will positively impact Lanett, Valley and the county, but most importantly, local citizens will have great job opportunities.”

“When one of our businesses announces an expansion, it’s not just a testament to their strength as a company,” said Kyle McCoy, mayor of Lanett. “It is a continued investment in our community that trickles down many levels, from tax revenue to our schools, to new jobs, to higher wages, all of which stimulates and grows our economy.”

A press release from the Chambers County Development Authority contributed to the report.