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DUNLOP GETS MONEY TO UPGRADE PLANT

Dunlop Tire Corp.'s plan to upgrade its Tonawanda plant received a major boost today from the Western New York Economic Development Corp.

The state agency's board of directors approved a $450,000 loan and a $300,000 grant that will be used for improvements to the plant's power and water processing systems and construction of an access road.

The $750,000 in state money is the final component of a $27 million incentive package designed in 1988 to retain 1,317 jobs at Dunlop. The tire manufacturer has spent $58 million of its own funds to date on the expansion project and created an additional 213 jobs out of an estimated total of 250.

The financing package for Dunlop's 98,000-square-foot addition to its Tonawanda plant was just one of several projects totaling over $1 million in state money approved by WNYEDC's board.

Buffalo's plans for a series of incubator buildings off Hertel Avenue for new Canadian companies received approval for a $100,000 grant. The money will be used to pay the design costs of three new buildings on a 22-acre site.

The Buffalo Free Trade Complex, which is estimated to cost $18.8 million, is located on the former American Standard plant site. About 50 Canadian companies eventually will have offices in four buildings.

The other projects approved by WNYEDC's board include:

A $90,000 loan and $60,000 grant for road construction, the demolition of a 40,000-square-foot building and other infrastructure improvements at the Niagara Falls Economic Development Zone.

A $77,000 grant for a training program at General Mills in Buffalo. About 500 of the company's 595 workers will receive technical, cultural and operational training.

A $99,000 training grant for Westwood Pharmaceuticals in Buffalo. Approximately 746 employees will be involved in the program.

A $81,600 grant to train a handful of workers at MRC Bearings in Falconer. The Southern Tier-based company makes high-precision inner and outer bearing rings used in aircraft.

All the projects approved by WNYEDC will be considered by the state Urban Development Corp. at a meeting Thursday. The UDC must give final approval for state money to be allocated.

Judith Kossy, president of WNYEDC, noted that the state money comes from the Regional Economic Development Partnership Program. Western New York has received more than $15 million from the program, which allocates funds on a competitive basis, she said.

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