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Kennametal may bring jobs back to Greenfield

Kennametal is considering moving its Vermont operations back to its plant on Sanderson Street in Greenfield or to North Carolina. Greenfield is working to make a deal with the company that could lead to dozens of new jobs in town.  Recorder/Paul Franz

Kennametal is considering moving its Vermont operations back to its plant on Sanderson Street in Greenfield or to North Carolina. Greenfield is working to make a deal with the company that could lead to dozens of new jobs in town. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The town is hoping the descendant of Greenfield Tap and Die tool makers will choose to expand its operations here and make good on a promise to invest almost $5 million and hire 70 new employees over the next four years.

Kennametal Inc. has announced it will close its Vermont plant and consolidate with either the Greenfield plant or its North Carolina plant.

“This is one of our homegrown industries and we have no plan to come in second!” said Mayor William Martin, who with the town’s economic development director is working with the state and Kennametal to convince the company that Greenfield is the place to choose. “This skilled tool industry has been in Greenfield for over a century.”

Kennametal has filed applications with the town and the state to participate in the state’s Economic Development Incentives Program, and while it would mean the town would have to make some real estate tax concessions — those are currently being discussed — it would also mean the town’s tax base would expand and 45 of the 70 new employees would be hired by the end of the summer.

Kennametal said it would invest $3.4 million immediately on plant and equipment and would invest an additional $1.25 million over the next four years.

The Kennametal plant on Sanderson Street was the Greenfield Tap and Die plant until Kennametal bought it in 1997. It is 180,000 square feet, while the one in North Carolina is about 70,000 square feet smaller.

Kennametal is headquartered in Pennsylvania.

The mayor is also working with Greenfield Community College and Franklin Regional Employment Board to offer Kennametal’s potential employees the training they will need.

“This is a very exciting project, not only because it involves a homegrown business, but because it is in the manufacturing sector,” said Robert Pyers, the town’s economic development director. He said the estimated salary for a Kennametal employee is in the $75,000 range.

Martin said he is confident Greenfield will be the place Kennametal decides to consolidate and expand.

He said recent conversations with Kennametal have led him to believe there is a genuine interest on the company’s part to relocate to Greenfield.

Martin said the town will know better about timelines as talks continue.

Greenfield Tap and Die, in its heyday in the mid-20th century, was a mainstay of Greenfield employment, hiring as many as thousands of workers at two locations in town at one time.

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