BEAR CREEK - A $2 million investment in Bear Creek has been announced, as a new industry has purchased the former Burley Wholesale property, bringing high-paying jobs and a major boost in the area’s economic development.
Riverwood Forest Products Inc., has purchased the property at 8085 Highway 13, with plans to renovate the existing facilities and open a sawmill operation that produces and sells kiln-dried round wooden fence posts and pilings without treatment, stated Tom Wisemiller of the C3 Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance.
Wisemiller was special guest at the Monday, May 3 meeting of the Bear Creek Town Council, along with Richard Roberson, one of four local owners of the new industry.
The new industry plans to invest $2 million to renovate three existing metal structures on the 11 acres of property, with the largest structure at 100x450 to be used, as well as a smaller building for production, Wisemiller stated. Another building will be used for storage, he continued.
Riverwood Forest Products plans to start production with 11 full-time high-paying jobs with benefits, which should reach 17 by the end of the first year, he explained.
“They have already made some improvements out there,” Wisemiller told Mayor Rob Taylor, council members and members of the public in attendance.
“This is a property that had been neglected for a while, so it’s really great to see this property being cleaned up and potentially put into use again,” Wisemiller stated.
The new industry plans to reach out to the Alabama Industrial Training Program, which can help recruit potential employees, as well as utilize a short-term program known as the Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program, which can help with training, as well, Wisemiller continued.
Roberson told the council that four partners were involved in this new venture, himself, Eddie Gamble, David Miller and Keith Hicks. Roberson and Gamble sold MSR Forest Products in Delmar 10 years ago, Roberson informed the council.
“We all have experience. We are all locals,” he stated. “This is home for us. We’re committed to this project. We’re going to spend a significant amount of money to do this.
“We want to be good corporate citizens for the folks at Bear Creek,” Roberson continued.
Riverwood Forest Products plans to buy raw logs from local loggers in the area.
“We’re giving them an opportunity where they don’t have to take logs all the way to Hanceville or Savannah, Tenn.,” Roberson said.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.