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Protomet to receive $2.5M grant to take over Albahealth facility in Rockwood

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(The Center Square) – Protomet Corp. will receive a $2.5 million economic development grant for its $25 million investment to buy and retrofit the former Albahealth building on North Gateway Avenue in Rockwood, Tenenssee for its engineering and manufacturing operations.

Protomet will add 250 jobs at the new Roane County facility to support the company’s other manufacturing operations in Loudon and Anderson counties.

““When you are the mayor of a small town, bad news travels fast,” Rockwood Mayor Jason Jolly said in a statement. “When we got the word Albahealth was closing, it was devastating. Families that worked there for generations were suddenly faced without a job. Then when we heard Protomet was considering buying the property, it was the best news we could ever even imagine. We are so excited to have them in our community and look forward to working with them.”

The $2.5 million grant is a Fasttrack grant, which are state grants sent to companies to help offset the costs of expanding or moving into the state with the goal of increasing the number of full-time jobs and the average wages of jobs available in an area.

Economists question the effectiveness of financial incentives to private businesses to expand or come to a new state but state and local governments continue to expand the incentives.

Protomet is a manufacturing, engineering and technology corporation headquartered in Loudon. Protomet works with automotive, boating and homeland security clients and expects to employ more than 500 in Tennessee overall after the Rockwood operations open.

“A little over a year ago, our community was shaken with the announcement of the closing of a long-time employer (Albahealth) of 170 local citizens,” Roane County Executive Wade Creswell said in a statement. “Today, we are so proud to announce the location of Protomet to downtown Rockwood, a successful regional employer bringing 250 higher-paying jobs to Rockwood and investing millions of dollars into an aging facility. This project is an economic development dream, and I could not be happier to welcome Protomet to Roane County.”