Planners React to DailmlerChrysler Delay - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/10/03

Planners React to DailmlerChrysler Delay

Plenty of people were counting on the DaimlerChrysler plant, and most aren't ready to count it out, despite yesterday's announcement that the company's board has delayed a final decision. In fact, some say what they consider a delay instead of a denial could be a good thing, especially with the world economy the way it is.

"Daimler Chrysler as a total company has lost about a billion dollars in the most recent quarter, and with that backdrop it's not unusual to be a little cautious," noted Rick Winger, president of the Savannah Economic Development Authority.

"Cautious" is one opinion, but many are still downright optimistic about the future plans for the $750 million van plant.

"Pooler was booming before DaimlerChrysler was rumored to come in there, and Pooler will boom no matter what happens," said Chatham County Commissioner Dean Kicklighter.

That's the community, but what about the people who were planning for a bright future at the brand new plant? It would mean more than 3,000 jobs, which some are already training for with classes at Savannah Tech.

"Right now, DaimlerChrysler is the big thing," said student Ron Riley. "That's what's on everybody's mind right now."

The delay is not expected to hurt the school's training plans. "This actually gives us a little bit of breathing room," said Dr. CB Rathburn, president of Savannah Tech. "We were going to have to have an awful lot of programs up and running very fast and this gives us a little flexibility in those decisions."

People involved in the effort are still working to get DaimlerChrysler--or another company--interested in the Pooler site. They'll take advantage of the work everyone's already done.

"We as a community, it give us more time to become better prepared," said Buddy Carter, Pooler's mayor. "That's good and we needed a little bit more time and we are going to be prepared. We are prepared now, but we'll be better prepared." Carter went on to note that all the work done at the site will not have been wasted. "Something is going to go there and I'm still confident it's going to be Daimler Chrysler."

Reported by: Mike Manhatton, mmanhatton@wtoc.com

 

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