A Dutch couple announced plans Friday to bring more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs to Citrus County.
Jalbert M. and Hedwig M. Taminiau, president and vice president of Tammy Corp., made their announcement after a two-week search through Citrus and Hernando counties.
The couple said they plan to invest $5-million to $10-million in an industrial park to be located at a site south of Venable Drive and east of U.S. 19.
Eventually, they hope to locate up to 70 businesses on the 377-acre site, each employing about 15 locally hired workers.
It will be at least a year before construction begins on the site if permitting goes smoothly. The site is owned by Black Diamond developer Stan Olsen, but the couple has an option to buy it. The couple would not disclose the cost of the property.
The land is zoned low-density residential, but the Taminiaus said their attorney, Clark Stillwell, has assured them the site is viable.
In the meantime, the Taminiaus said they hope to lease space in Meadowcrest Industrial Park, also owned by Olsen, to set up four to five companies by March.
The decision is seen as a major coup by the Economic Development Association of Citrus County.
The private group of business leaders has tried for more than a year to attract business to Citrus, battling other counties' government-funded economic development groups and a sometimes hostile County Commission here.
Friday, they seemed to get exactly what they were seeking.
The Taminiaus' plans call for a wide variety of products to be made at the site. Some of the products they have lined up include a high-speed washer/dryer combination, a roofing system and specialized industrial lamps.
They claim to have more than 100 European companies interested in their venture. Money for the project will be provided by European investors whom the Taminiaus declined to name Friday. But economic development officials said they are confident the couple could succeed.
"We've done our homework. We know all we need to know," Jim Humphrey, EDACC spokesman, said in an interview shortly after the Taminiaus announced the beginning of their search.
What sold them on Citrus? In a word, community.
The Taminiaus began looking to locate in Florida several years ago, but were unhappy with areas they toured in Naples, Palm Beach and Tampa.
They contacted the state's Department of Commerce, which faxed a notice announcing the Taminiaus interests. The Economic Development Association responded immediately.
The Taminiaus first came to Citrus in June. During that time, they were wooed by the county's biggest business names. Elected officials from Crystal River and Inverness gave presentations. So did representatives from the School Board and Sheriff's Office.
A few months of telephone calls and faxes followed. When they returned to Florida in October, the Taminiaus took a hard look at four sites in Citrus and two in Hernando.
It was no contest, they said. The sites Hernando offered were weak _ "They were in the middle of nowhere," Taminiau said _ and Citrus' show of community was strong.
"The whole area, it's great," Mrs. Taminiau said.
"It's unbelievable, said Taminiau said. "There's no comparison."
Instead of being an industrial eyesore, the Taminiaus hope to make their park, well, parklike.
Not only do they hope to preserve the site's trees and 100 acres of wetlands, they also plan to build their own home, 10 other residences and a hotel and restaurant on the grounds.
"Those wetlands will be left in a pristine state," said Taminiau, who owns a consulting business in the Netherlands and has a background in international business. "They will not be disturbed," he said.
The Taminiaus also hope to open their park to the community one day a year for a "Tammy Friends' Day" celebration and donate a portion of their net profits to a non-profit foundation dedicated to enhancing the welfare of the area's inhabitants.