The Vernon Parish Police Jury on Monday approved Champion Home Builders for participation in the parish’s ad valorem tax exemptions under the industrial tax exemption program, clearing the way for a $1.3 million plant to build manufactured homes in Leesville.

Jury President Jim Tuck said Champion plans to create 200 new direct jobs at the plant in Northside Industrial Park.

“I am very proud for the City of Leesville, as well as the surrounding communities,” Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said. “The jobs that this company will provide are desperately needed. We have worked to lease the Industrial Park, not to just anyone, but to partner with the right company. I truly believe that Champion Home Builders is the right company. They will provide stable, good-paying jobs that we so badly needed. The truth is that God has had his hand on the whole deal and He deserves the credit.”

In Baton Rouge, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Champion Home Builders executive Wade Lyall announced that Champion, which operates 28 manufacturing facilities throughout North America, will occupy two existing buildings totaling 246,000 square feet in the Industrial Park.

The new direct jobs will pay an average annual salary of $35,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also will result in 218 new indirect jobs, for a total of 418 new jobs in Vernon and the Central Louisiana region.

“Manufacturing accounts for a substantial portion of Louisiana’s economic output, and we are happy to add Champion Home Builders to that roster,” Gov. Edwards said. “Leesville and Vernon Parish will provide a good home for this national company, and the jobs created by this project will be filled by a talented workforce in Central Louisiana. Champion is a leader in its field. We congratulate the company on its continued growth, and welcome Champion to Louisiana.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity to produce Champion’s award-winning manufactured homes in Louisiana, the third-ranking state nationally in manufactured housing sales,” said Lyall, the Southern Region vice president for Champion. 

“We’re thrilled to serve the great people of Louisiana, as well as to tap into the impressive legacy of Leesville’s workforce. Without the hard work and support from the teams at Louisiana Economic Development and the City of Leesville, we wouldn’t have secured a new home in ‘the best hometown in the world.’”

LED began working with the company on a potential project in May. To secure the project, LED offered Champion a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart, ranked the No. 1 state workforce development program in the nation.

 In addition, Champion will receive an Economic Development Award Program grant of $500,000. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

“Champion Homes will be a great addition to Leesville and Central Louisiana,” said CEO Jim Clinton of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Congratulations and thanks to Louisiana Economic Development, Mayor Rick Allen and our other partners in Leesville and Vernon Parish who are so vital to making this happen. Champion joins a growing group of manufacturers in Central Louisiana where “We Make Good Stuff.’”