Luring More Manufacturing Jobs

April 19, 1994

Carroll County and state economic development officials have been working overtime for nine months to convince Marada Industries to expand its Westminster plant. If they are successful in convincing the automobile components manufacturer to increase production in Carroll, the officials believe that an expanded Marada factory will become a magnet that would draw other businesses and needed jobs to the area.

The company has production sites at the Air Business Park and at its property across Route 97. It currently employs about 250 people, making it one of the county's largest manufacturers. Last year, thanks to new contracts to build door reinforcement beams for trucks and vans, the factory added 45 people to its payroll. In a county where the number of well-paying manufacturing jobs has been declining, Marada's possible expansion is quite significant.

To make Carroll more attractive for Marada's growth, the county and the city of Westminster are offering to finance construction of a railroad spur to the Air Business Park. Westminster's willingness to pay $176,000 out of its limited budget for the rail spur and a larger-capacity water line are clear indications of Marada's importance to the local economy.

Indeed, landing this project would be a coup for Carroll. The bigger factory, according to an executive with Magna International, Marada's corporate parent, would cost between $16 million and $18 million and double the number of local jobs. Aside from offering higher-paying manufacturing work, Magna is known as an enlightened employer. At its other locations around the United States and Canada, Magna International has installed day care centers and employee gyms. With a plant of 500 employees, Marada might have reason to add these amenities in Westminster.

The Canada-based Magna is holding its cards close to the vest. While local management would like to see the Westminster plant expand, corporate officials are also looking at locations in the Midwest closer to the auto plants that use the company's components. It appears that Westminster, Carroll and the state of Maryland have assembled an attractive package of economic incentives that makes sense for the taxpayers and, we hope, for Marada and Magna.

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