KILGORE, Texas (KETK) — More jobs could be on the way to East Texas with a major expansion of Skeeter Boats in the works, which could put a major property back on the tax rolls, the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation said.
Kilgore EDC is entering a purchase agreement and economic development performance agreement supporting Skeeter Boats’ purchase of the former Halliburton site on FM 349, Kilgore EDC said.
Officials said developments will span across the next decade with the company investing in two facilities and adding more than 90 jobs to increase their capacity by about 25 percent, the release stated.
“Skeeter Boats has been a high-impact employer in Kilgore since the early 1970s and has been land-locked in their current location,” said Lisa Denton, KEDC Executive Director. “This purchase will allow the company to achieve intentional growth of the Kilgore location over the next several years.”
The initial project timeline for Skeeter Boats is about 18 months.
Jeff Stone, Senior Vice President of Skeeter Products said he’s eager to bring more people into the Skeeter family and increase daily production capacity in Kilgore.
“I’ve grown up in this area and this part of East Texas. It’s very important and very exciting to see that kind of revitalization take place,” said Stone.
The company has built bass boats in the same facility for 50 years and this will be the largest expansion for the overall operation.
“Across those years, the City of Kilgore and KEDC have been instrumental in our growth. They’ve been with us all these years along the way,” Stone added. “We owe them a great deal of thanks for their support, helping us out as we’ve grown.”
Denton said that with the “unfortunate departure of Halliburton,” the KEDC board recognized the need for the acquisition of the property.
The project will be divided into two phases. Phase I includes the addition of seven full-time positions at Skeeter boats and the estimated investment is $6.76 million. Phase II is set to start about 30 months into the agreement with the purchase of the remaining 43.125 acres of the former Haliburton location.
“It’s exciting to see this project come to fruition,” KEDC Board President Bob Davis Jr. said. “To get to witness the continued growth of one of our major employers, and to play a small part in the process, is what KEDC is all about.”