Officials on Friday celebrated with a ribbon-cutting the grand opening of a chemical plant in Killeen that produces high-grade hydrogen peroxide.
City and area leaders, along with company representatives with MGC Pure Chemicals America Inc. also toured the $32 million plant at the Killeen Business Park.
“The plant produces products for use in the semiconductor industry,” according to an announcement from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation after the grand opening. “Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees participated in group tours to view the process MPCA will utilize to produce Ultra-Pure Hydrogen Peroxide for applications that require stripping, etching, and cleaning of silicon wafers.”
The chemical plant, 4500 Roy J. Smith Drive and built by Gray Construction, sparked controversy when its construction was announced in 2017.
The public wasn’t invited to an Aug. 30, 2017, groundbreaking event, nor was media allowed. At a September forum held by Councilwoman Shirley Fleming and Councilman Steve Harris, residents were outraged at the close proximity to schools and residential areas. The River Oaks Apartments are less than a mile from the plant’s expected site. Killeen High School is about two miles from the site.
When asked by the Herald Friday, Killeen EDC officials said the plant was open but they did not believe the plant is producing hydrogen peroxide yet. They referred questions to the plant manager, who did not immediately respond.
Built on nearly 18.4 acres, “with a capital investment of approximately $32 million in land, building, machinery and equipment, MPCA becomes the second highest property tax generator in Killeen. MPCA estimates that it will employ 28 people at the facility with an average annual salary of $66,600 per year,” according to the release.
Officials taking part in the ribbon-cutting included state Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, who said MPCA’s sole facility in Texas adds to the growing base of advanced manufacturing in the state, according to the release.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn added that MPCA’s presence is diversifying the industrial base in Bell County.
Attending the ceremony were key leaders from MPCA, their parent company Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. based in Tokyo, Japan, their financial partners, their largest client as well as company representatives from Gray Construction.
Also in attendance were local, county and state elected officials; board members for the KEDC, the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and 14 Forward; former city mayors and KEDC presidents; as well as neighboring businesses in the Killeen Business Park.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra presented a proclamation which included designating March 15, 2019, as MGC Pure Chemicals America Day in Killeen.
Bobby Hoxworth, treasurer of the KEDC, said the plant’s presence and operations in Killeen is valued to be about $2.2 million in net benefits over a 10-year period to the city. Those direct and indirect benefits range from new jobs in advanced technology, sales revenue and increased property values.
“On behalf of all here today, and especially on behalf of our Killeen Economic Development Corporation, I want to thank the leaders of MPCA, MGC, their clients and investors for their confidence in this community and our local workforce. Our community has long focused on developing talent. Sometimes that talent comes in the form of a graduate from our local education system. Sometimes that talent comes in the form of a Soldier exiting the military at Fort Hood. We appreciate the fact that some of your employees come from those two sources. And, we are confident that with MGC’s know how and leadership that local talent will produce superior products in this facility for many years to come,” Hoxworth said in the release.