Caraway new owner of the former Basler Electric building
The official signing over of the Basler Electric building to the city of Caraway was held Tuesday, July 29, in the board room of city hall.
Mayor Barry Riley expressed his appreciation to the Basler team for their hard work and dedication in making the transition.
The large building has been empty for the last five years as Basler has worked through environmental issues before being able to give the building to the city of Caraway.
"It has been a long process and at a great monetary cost to Basler to take care of the issues," Mayor Riley said. "Basler was good to the community when they were open in Caraway and they have continued to support our community even after the factory closed."
Basler opened in Caraway in 1974 and closed in 2009, being part of the Caraway community for over 30 years. At its peak in the early 1990s over 100 were employed at the Caraway facility running two and even three shifts.
"I can't think of many people in the area who did not work or have relatives who worked at Basler Electric," Elise Staggs, owner of the Feed Lot, said.
"Basler was good to allow their employees on the fire department and the ambulance department to leave work and go out on runs when necessary," Mayor Riley said.
On hand for the sign over were Greg and Bill Basler, owners; Lisa Gerner, human resource manager; Gary Dolbeare, president; and Mike Munneke, vice president of administration.
Basler has plants in Illinois, Mexico, Texas, France, and sales offices in Singapore and China.
"We have a great building now and we hope to bring some jobs to our area," Mayor Riley said. "It is a well-kept building. I checked it after a four inch rain last week and it was completely dry."
Mayor Riley also expressed his appreciation to the Baslers for allowing the local churches to store pews in the building after the Oct. 31, 2013, tornado.
Bill Basler said he appreciated the city's help in keeping the property mowed and neat.
"We went through it and everything looked in order," Basler said.
Mayor Riley said now that the building is available it will be listed on the Arkansas Select a Site with the Arkansas Economic group, and listed with the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce.
"With all of the progress going on in the surrounding area maybe there might be something in our area," Mayor Riley said. "We will be looking at all of our options."