By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
PRYOR, OK -- Pryor is feeling the effects of the struggling economy as the town has seen hundreds of jobs disappear in the past nine months.
Two companies closed and another had layoffs, but one plant that's been closed for a decade is tentatively scheduled to reopen.
"There's plenty of work going on," said Jarrett Owen, general manager of Pryor Plant Chemical Company.
Owen has worked for the company since 1975 and has seen the ups and downs at the fertilizer plant. It's been down for a decade, but with plans tentatively in place for the plant to reopen Owen says things are looking up.
"There's a lot of plants that have shut down and laid back, cut off in this area, and the economy is down quite a bit, so we look at it as a positive," Owen said.
The plant closed in 1999. Now 10 years later, employees are working hard to make sure this plant reopens by July.
"I think we'll make our deadline," Owen said.
Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries bought the plant in 2001. The company is investing $20 million to reopen the plant, which will become a major area ammonium nitrate liquid fertilizer distributor.
"We've kept the plant semi-moth balled for all these years," said Jack Golsen, CEO of CEO LBS Industries. "We've had a crew there of about five people there just maintaining the plant."
In preparation for the reopening, 61 people have been hired to work at the plant from working in the offices to manual labor. By the time the plant reopens, Owen says it will have 100 employees, many of whom were previously employed by the fertilizer plant.
"I feel like I am real privileged to have the percentage of people that worked here before with the experience to come back," Owen said.
Golsen says others will be affected in addition to the 100 employees
"You may end up indirectly employing 400 to 500 people as a result in Pryor and the surrounding areas," he said.
New employee hopefuls are jumping at the potential job opportunities.
"Applications is something we're not short on," Owen said. "Experience we're running a little short on, but applications we're not."