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Backers of Gering HVAC Duct Mfg. Plant Propose New Plan

Backers of Gering HVAC Duct Mfg. Plant Propose New Plan
Herb Gibson presenting initial plan for Prime Metal Products in September 2018 (Murphy/KNEB/RRN)

The backers of a the business proposal to create a new operation for the manufacture and distribution of commercial HVAC duct systems in Gering is back at the table.

The City of Scottsbluff’s LB840 Application Review Committee meets this Friday at 8 a.m. at City Hall to consider a new application by Herb Gibson and an expanded group of investors for Prime Metal Products, which would still be located in the former Lockwood building.

The original proposal for the plant was put on hold last April due to changing economic conditions, including higher steel prices. Gibson tells Rural Radio News with an easing of tariffs and trade tensions, the situation has somewhat reversed and the basics of the steel market would appear to be stable for at least 12 to 15 months.

The new proposal asks Scottsbluff for a little more than $1.5 million in LB840 assistance for a $7.1 million dollar project that’s still anticipated to generate up to 70 new jobs with pay ranging from $13-26 per hour, plus benefits.

The company has also applied for a $1 million Community Development Block Grant, and the City of Gering would be anticipated to provide $211,000 from their CDBG Reuse Fund.

The investors would provide $1.2 million in cash, equipment and software, with the balance of the funding for the project to come from loans from Western States Bank and the Small Business Administration. The original estimate for the project was $11.7 million, and Gibson says the difference would be a long-term lease of the building instead of an outright purchase.

Scottsbluff Economic Development Director Starr Lehl tells Rural Radio News she had stayed in contact with Gibson after the project was put on hold last year, and was hopeful the plans for the plant would return.

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