Rain Bird to expand in Steele

Manufacturer to spend $11 million, create 43 jobs

By Buddy Roberts, CNHI News Service

STEELE — An $11.8 million expansion at a St. Clair County manufacturing operation is expected to create 43 new jobs, local officials said this week.

Rain Bird Corporation, a manufacturer and distributor of irrigation equipment, announced the plans for its facility in Steele. It has occupied the former Saks Inc. warehouse owned by Belk Inc. since 2009, with the facility functioning primarily as a manufacturing site. The expansion will bring the company’s distribution operations to Steele.

“We are glad Rain Bird saw the advantage of expanding in Steele, and we are excited that the company will be providing an additional 43 jobs in our area,” Steele Mayor John Wilcox. “We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship in the future and to other expansion opportunities in the future.”

Tommy Bowers, chairman of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, said that the organization is pleased to see the company expand. “The EDC has had the pleasure of seeing Rain Bird through their initial landing in Steele and now the expansion of their facility. It is always great to see local companies increase their capacity in St. Clair County, and we look forward to their future growth.”

According to company officials, Rain Bird is expanding to handle future business. The company currently offers products for farms, golf courses, sports arenas, commercial developments and homes in more than 130 countries.

“St. Clair County looks forward to addition of 43 new jobs to Rain Bird’s Steele facility,” said Stan Batemon, chairman of the St. Clair County Commission. “We are proud of the growth and success this company has experienced in our County, and we only hope to see them continue to expand in the future.”

State Rep. Mack Butler also praised the expansion efforts. “I’m very excited about the expansion of Rain Bird here in the heart of HD30. The addition of 43 jobs is a very welcome sign of our recovering economy,” he said.

Original article: http://www.newsaegis.com/news/x1027605175/Rain-Bird-to-expand-in-Steele#sthash.ZwL8TXC9.dpuf


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