Register Staff Report
Asahi Forge America’s plans to expand its Corporate Drive plant and increase its workforce were reviewed Tuesday evening during a Richmond Planning Commission work session.
The plant does hot-forge manufacturing for the automotive industry and employs 46 people, according to the Kentucky Business and Industry Information System.
Asahi Forge America began its Richmond operations in 2003.
Currently, the plant has three presses and two sawing operations, an Asahi representative told the commission. Once the expansion is complete, the sawing operations will be moved into the new space.
The expansion also would allow for additional shipping and warehouse storage space.
The move would free up enough space for two additional presses and another sawing operation, the representative said.
Plant manager John Cromika was unable to say how many jobs are likely to be added at the factory but he said the company “will add to the workforce” if the expansion plan is approved.
Construction could be complete by January or February, with expanded production starting as early as mid-2014, he said.
Asahi Forge’s umbrella corporation opened a second plant at the industrial park in 2012, but it operates under the name of Asahi Bluegrass Forge Corp. It also manufactures parts for the automotive industry and employs 32 people, according to KBIIS.
The planning commission also reviewed site plans for a new Citizens Guaranty Bank building at 467 E. Main St. The bank plans to demolish its existing building and construct a new one farther back off Main Street.
Currently, customers have to park behind the building and enter through the back door, a Citizens Guaranty representative said. The new 2,500 square-foot building will allow parking between the building and the street.
During the directors report, the commission briefly discussed plans submitted at a previous meeting to construct a Walgreens at the northwest corner of the Big Hill Avenue and the Eastern Bypass intersection.
Commission members again expressed concern that the plan did not include a road from the development to the west entrance of Carriage Gate Shopping Center next to Office Depot, where the state recently installed a traffic light on the bypass. However, that is in the developers’ long-range plan, Nate Stark of Anchor Properties said April 25 when the commission tabled approval of the current plan.
Commission members Richard Thomas and Neen Wiggins said Tuesday they would vote against the Walgreens site plan unless the developer or land owners included the connector road as part of the initial plan. Stark estimated the road’s cost at $500,000.