Saturday, February 17, 2018
News Roundup

Accuform Signs announces delay in expansion plans at Hernando airport

BROOKSVILLE — In late 2012, Gov. Rick Scott visited Hernando County to tout new headquarters and a massive manufacturing plant for Accuform Signs as one of the largest business projects going on in Florida.

Now, Accuform's CEO says the company, which manufactures and sells safety-related signs, has tabled the expansion at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

"We met with the county about a month ago and asked them to put the whole project on hold,'' said CEO Wayne Johnson.

While the company has been meeting monthly with county officials to walk through the permit process, Accuform also has been pursuing the acquisition of a competitor's company.

"We have to wait and see what our needs really are,'' Johnson said. "In most scenarios, we believe we will be able to relocate (any acquired company) to Brooksville and meet our job creation target.''

In the meantime, Accuform is still expanding its existing business, with about 300 employees at this point and a 15 percent annual growth factor.

One thing that might improve that is a recent licensing agreement the company signed with A&E Networks. In about a month, Accuform will begin rolling out a series of safety sign products featuring the Robertson family from the popular Duck Dynasty program.

Accuform's original announcement in October 2012 envisioned a $15 million, 300,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. The site for the building was a 44-acre parcel owned by the airport at Corporate Boulevard and Aerial Way. The building was to open sometime this year.

Eventually, the size of the workforce from the existing Accuform location at the airport would increase by 271. There were 280 workers at the time.

Months later, Johnson said, the plan changed from one big building to two smaller buildings on the same site. One would be a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing center; the other a 100,000-square-foot office and training center. That configuration would be easier to sell if the company ever decided to do that, Johnson said.

The last time the County Commission acted on the Accuform expansion was in late December. Commissioners agreed to lengthen the time Accuform had to file its first job creation agreement. Construction was months behind the original schedule due to delays in grant funding and physical site work.

The company was still reporting plans to create 271 new jobs.

County Administrator Len Sossamon said Wednesday that the tabling of the project was discouraging, but that he was trying to stay positive about Accuform bringing new jobs to the area. Because Johnson has not signed the lease, if another company wants the proposed Accuform site, the county is free to lease it.

Sossamon, who doubles as Hernando's economic development director, said he has prospects.

He also noted that county staffers have checked and that the $1.5 million Community Development Block Grant for infrastructure at the site will not be affected by the news. Sossamon was not sure about the status of a $1 million grant the county received from the Florida Department of Transportation for road work.

Comments
Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

1. Was editor of her high school newspaper, president of her 4-H club.2. Started stripping at age 17 in Baton Rouge, La.3. Made her first porn film with a girlfriend.4. Took her stage name from the Motley Crue bassist, who named his son Storm, and fr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

Trump adviser: Russian meddling ‘incontrovertible’

MUNICH — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Saturday there was "incontrovertible" evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election, a blunt statement that shows how significantly the new criminal charges leveled by an...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

Prominent Republican donor issues an ultimatum

A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style fi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

Hundreds rally against gun violence in downtown St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — A red heart-shaped balloon rose above crowd of several hundred people that had gathered at Williams Park on Saturday evening to mourn Wednesday’s school shooting in Broward County and to protest gun violence.Below the balloon, signs ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

Trumpeter is the highlight of a concert featuring ‘West Side Story’ themes

TAMPA — Leonard Bernstein would have turned 100 this year. The Florida Orchestra performed two of his works Friday, the second of which paired the dances from West Side Story with the overture to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet.The orches...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

Stormy at the strip club: A porn star cashes in on presidential connection

TAMPA — In the center of the nightclub, between the cigar case and bustling bar, a giant screen blankets the back wall. Usually, ads for drink specials and coming attractions scroll across.But Friday night, a life-size picture of President Donald Tru...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Updated: 6 hours ago
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Police up patrols at two Pinellas Park schools after Snapchat threat

PINELLAS PARK — Police said they will have a heightened presence at two Pinellas Park schools after a school shooting threat was shared on social media.A post Friday on social media app Snapchat threatened a possible school shooting Tuesday, accordin...
Updated: 7 hours ago