Adams County locals prepare for hundreds to lose jobs in power plant closings

Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 18:51:52-04

WEST UNION, Ohio -- The closing of two electric generating plants in Adams County means the loss of 700 jobs, and that's going to affect the economy across the county.

Many of the businesses in West Union depend a great deal on the spending of the employees at Dayton Power and Light Company's Stuart and Killen power stations. However, with both plants set to close in June of 2018, there's a lot of concern about the future.

The people at Barry's Chevrolet-Buick normally sell about 750 vehicles each year. But with the closing of the plants in just over a year, thart could change. Shawn McFarland is the fourth generation of his family to work in the auto business.

"I've got a large amount of friends that work at DP&L," McFarland said. "I've got a larger customer base that works at DP&L, so it's going to have a big impact."

Coping with a loss of business won't be easy.

"We're going to have to broaden our horizons as far as trying to reach out to a further customer base," McFarland said.

At Mosier Furniture, Gary McClellan knows an economic storm is coming, but he's optimistic about how it can be weathered.

"There's no doubt about it. It's going to filter down," he said. "It's just how we're able to handle it. I believe we can handle it. I think we will."

Manchester Local Schools will take a big hit in tax revenue from the closings. Superintendent Charles Shreve said they're looking at a loss of between $5.5 million and $7 million out of their $11 million budget.

Shreve has already been talking with state legislators in Columbus about a solution.

"What we are doing is working with the Ohio General Assembly to funnel state money here to make up the loss," he said.

Richard Seas, superintendent of the Adams County Ohio Valley School District, said the best thing the district can do is remain a solid resource for students and parents.

"I happen to think we bring hope to our community, and I hope that we can do more of that," he said.

Not knowing what will happen is concerning. Greg Adams, president of Utility Works of America Local 175, said the plant workers are hoping someone would buy the plants.

"These power plants are up to date on all emissions components through 2023," he said.

In the meantime, Adams County Commissioner Ty Pell is coordinating aid for any displaced workers.

"The number one priority for our employees losing their job would be traning and placement," Pell said.

The plants take up 5,500 acres along the Ohio River. DP&L hasn't told Adams County officials what they plan to do with that land after the closing.