September 28, 2013 10:19:07 PM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
As part of its "Grand Design 100" strategy, Yokohama Tire Company has a campaign called Forever Forest, a pledge the corporation has made to plant 500,000 trees around each of its worldwide locations by 2017.
The company has started work on their first American-based manufacturing plant in Clay County and plans to continue practicing environmental restoration there.
They'll have some help.
During Monday's groundbreaking ceremony, West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson and Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins announced plans to provide and plant 1,000 trees a year in contribution to the campaign. After conversations with Yokohama executives, they've now agreed to plant 5,000 annually.
"Besides the gift of the trees, we want you to know that as a community, we're going to come out here with our troughs, our watering buckets at your request when you need us," Robinson told Yokohama officials. "Our community is going to come and plant along with you side by side as a symbol that we're ready to work together with you in this community."
Dalton Turnipseed, second grader at Oak Hill Academy, and Audriana Taylor, fourth grader at Southside Elementary, presented a magnolia tree as the first donation. Robinson said the city and Clay County would help plant any species the company desires in its Forever Forest.
"These trees will symbolize the future for our community and the future of our relationship as we grow together and the future of these people right here who are going to grow up in our community and have jobs and hope with Yokohama Tire Corporation," he said.
There is a county-owned piece of property along the western side of what will be a one million square foot plant in 2015. It will be preserved as Forever Forest property, Higgins said.
"We intend over the course of the lifetime of this facility...to routinely get with our friends at Yokohama, go out and do tree plantings again and again and again so our children will see what we have done," Higgins said. "We commend Yokohama for their commitment to the environment. Yokohama is a company with a heart and a conscience...we're blessed."
According to a company release, Yokohama is nearly halfway to their goal with more than 200,000 trees planted at their other 17 operations around the world.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.