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Kentucky Electric Steel closing; laying off 113 workers

Kentucky Electric Steel will close on March 10th. (WCHS/WVAH)

Kentucky Electric Steel, just off Route 60 near I-64, will be closing its doors for good, putting dozens of workers out of work in Boyd County, Ky., according to a letter sent to Ashland Mayor Steve Gilmore Tuesday afternoon.

"It's a big hit to our city," Gilmore said.

Gilmore said the announcement took him by surprise and could potentially affect the nearby city's economy.

"There are plenty of people that live in Ashland that work there, and have over the years,” Gilmore said, “raised families, been contributors to everything right in Ashland, so I'm really going to hate to see that plant close."

Gilmore said the steel mill's letter cited “current business challenges” as the reason for closing, and they're not the first steel industry to pack up in the area.

Nearby AK Steel idled a portion of its plant on the other end of Ashland back in 2015, eliminating hundreds of jobs.

"Small town America, every job is important,” Gilmore said, “and those 113 jobs at K steel are very important to our county and our city."

A silver lining, Gilmore said, is the laid off workers could be in a perfect position to get hired on at the new Brady Industries plant set for construction in the spring in Greenup County, or get retrained at nearby technical colleges.

"They have a golden opportunity to hook right on with Brady Industries as a seasoned veteran of a plant. I'm hoping that for them too," Gilmore said.

Administrators said they plan to start laying off workers in mid-March.

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