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LibbyMt.com > News > April 2010 > County funds put Stinger deal back on track

Kootenai Valley Record. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Kootenai Valley Record
County funds put Stinger deal back on track
by Kootenai Valley Record
April 16, 2010

With construction of Stinger Welding’s new manufacturing facility in Libby temporarily derailed by financing difficulties, Lincoln County is stepping in to provide a short-term $3.4 million loan to break the deadlock and put the project on the fast track.

The county commissioners last week approved a $3,366,500 loan to the Kootenai Business Park Industrial District that will allow construction to begin. The county funds will be combined with $3.2 million from an insurance settlement the industrial district received following the collapse of the former plywood plant roof under a heavy snow load two years ago, along with an $800,000 Community Development Block Grant, and a $400,000 grant from the Big Sky Trust Fund.

Once construction is completed and Stinger moves into the building, the county’s investment will be reimbursed with a loan from the Montana Board of Investments. The industrial district will own the building and lease it to Stinger, with the lease payments going to pay off the loan.

As originally proposed, the $3.4 million loan now being made by the county would have come from Glacier Bank, but that plan was stalled when Stinger’s bank in Arizona balked at the deal. Lincoln County Commissioner John Konzen attributed the difficulties to changes in the financial market since the funding package was first put together.

"If the market hadn’t changed, I think it would have worked for us," Konzen said.

Construction is scheduled for nine months.

"They think it can be done quicker, but you’re better to give a little longer," Konzen said.

The loan will be backed by Stinger president Carl Douglas’ personal property, including his home in Arizona and another residence at Vinal Lake in the Yaak.

Stinger currently employs around two dozen people at its Libby facility, currently housed in the old central maintenance building on the industrial district site. Several projects, including portions of pedestrian bridges for Broomfield, Colo., and San Jose, Calif., have already been completed in Libby. Douglas said last week that he anticipates work to ramp up this summer, when the weather allows jobs to be undertaken outdoors.

"There’s plenty of work out there, especially in the bridge market," Douglas said.

Stinger employs around 200 people at its Arizona facility and plans to put a similar number to work in Libby within the next four years. The Libby plant is targeted at increasing the company’s business opportunities in the Northwest.

Editor’s Note: See the April 13, 2010 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Tuesdays, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.

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