Hattiesburg's Hercules plant to end operations

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's longstanding Hercules plant will be closing its doors for good at the end of the year.

The 170-acre facility, bordered by West 7th Street and the Highway 42 bypass, is being closed by its new owners for economic reasons.

During its heyday, the plant was one of the city's biggest employers with over 1,400 workers, but now employs 21.

The Ashland Company purchased the facility in November and will start reducing production in July while moving its manufacturing efforts to other plants.

The local plant currently makes paper-sizing products for use in tissue paper.

Company officials said no decision has been made on the final disposition of the property.