By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — Continental Tire the Americas celebrated a milestone on Tuesday with a beam signing ceremony on its newest expansion.
"CTA Mt. Vernon has always had the support of state and local officials," plant manager Benny Harmse said. "... I am confident we will continue on a successful path, which brings stable jobs for Southern Illinois."
The beam which was signed Tuesday will be placed inside the new $94.7 million commercial vehicle tire production facility expansion, which was announced in January. According to Harmse, the expansion is expected to create 80 jobs.
"In total, we have invested $615 million since 2006, and since 2010, we have added 770 full-time jobs," Harmes said. "...We are committed to the city of Mt. Vernon and the state of Illinois, and we want to share our successes with them. It is exciting to see such great things happening for the Continental plant as well as for the local community. It signifies the progress and commitment of our company. This is progress, and represents the job opportunity and economic vitality Continental continues to bring to the Mt. Vernon area."
"This is another important day for the city of Mt. Vernon, Jefferson County and Southern Illinois," said Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley. "This achievement marks growth with this magnificent facility and jobs, good paying jobs."
Chesley said in the nearly 40 years the plant has been in Mt. Vernon, continued growth has been shown.
"And, it also shows they produce quality products, but also they have faith in our workforce," Chesley said. "Thank you for this wise investment."
According to information from CTA, construction of the new commercial tire production expansion is on schedule and expected to be completed by the end of 2015. In addition, the passenger and light truck expansion, announced in 2011, is nearly 95 percent complete.