One year ago, General Electric announced that in January 2014, it would close its Ohio Lamp plant on Dana Street in Warren. Nearly 200 jobs would leave the city.
Mayor Doug Franklin put a positive spin on the news. While expressing regret at the job loss, he suggested that the nearly one-year notification would give the city the chance to look at options, including finding a new business for the site.
''We have to move forward,'' Franklin said in January 2013. ''I immediately began talking with the management team at the Regional Chamber about what steps we can do to attract a new company.''
A week ago Friday, workers spent their last day on the job. It does not appear as though the city has made any progress toward finding an alternative for the site. Our warning last year that Franklin was spreading false hope seems well founded.
Councilman Alford Novak's grim assessment on the plant's final day is probably more accurate.
''It would be a miracle if another company would come in and take it over,'' Novak said.
Last year, workers at the plant paid about $250,000 in city income tax. The city also will lose water and sanitary sewer income from GE, which had been among the city's top 20 customers.
That's pretty devastating for a city that can't afford enough police protection and has a large chunk of its fire department paid for with an expiring federal grant.
GE was a staple at the corner of Dana and North Park Avenue for 123 years. Members of the International Union of Electrical Workers-Communication Workers of America Local 722 rejected, by six votes, a concessionary package that the company said would have kept the plant open.
It's interesting to note that since that close vote last April, 17 employees have retired.