July 11, 2022 | Shreveport Times (full link below)
On a slightly overcast summer day Plain Dealing was bustling with people to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $110.5 million sawmill facility.
"This is a fabulous announcement," said Don Pearson, Secretary for Louisiana Economic Development.
The Teal-Jones Group broke ground with Gov. John Bel Edwards, Pearson, Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation and a host of regional and local collaborators on July 11.
"We are excited to invest in this project, one that will bring long-term prosperity, jobs and other development opportunities in rail and infrastructure to Plain Dealing," said Tom Jones, CEO of the Teal-Jones Group.
Teal-Jones is the largest privately owned timber harvesting and primary lumber product manufacturing company in British Columbia. The company began in 1946 in New Westminster, B.C., Canada.
Over 70 years Teal-Jones has expanded into the United States acquiring Southern Yellow Pine sawmills in Oklahoma, Virginia, Mississippi and now Plain Dealing, Louisiana.
"The Plain Dealing mill is an exciting and important step in our continued expansion," said Jones.
The Teal-Johns Group initially proposed Plain Dealing as the site due to its easy access to railway infrastructure. The 235-acre sawmill facility is underway and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023.
Edwards said, "this is a big deal, not just for Plain Dealing, not just for Bossier Parish, not just for Northwest Louisiana, but for the state of Louisiana."
The sawmill will produce a wide range of dimensional and specialty lumber products and is expected to bring in nearly 500 new jobs.
"We are gonna have about 125 new direct jobs averaging about $50,000 a year," said Edwards.
A competitive incentive package was offered by Louisiana to secure the project. The LED FastStart workforce development service will support this project by recruiting and training. Bossier Parish will offer a PILOT agreement which allows Teal-Johns Group to make property tax payments on an agreed schedule instead of paying the standard tax amount.