Batavia Ford plant set to close its doors

Published: Jun. 12, 2008 at 11:55 AM EDT
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(BATAVIA, OH) -- After nearly three decades of providing jobs and security to local families, Friday will be the last day of operations for the Ford plant in Batavia.

It will leave some 800 workers out of a job.

At it's peak, 2,500 people worked at the Ford transmission plant, and now the place that brought a lot more than just jobs to Batavia is closing it's doors for good.

In the mid to late 70's, this plant was a dream come true for Calvin Lewis, a township trustee who helped lay the groundwork for Ford Motor Company to put roots here.

More than 2,000 people were employed here at the plant's peak, which brought much needed improvements to Batavia.

"The Ford Motor Company really kept our schools here in Batavia Township and now we've got a nice new high school and all the facilities it really worked out just great," said Lewis.

But now, what worked out for three decades is one of 14 Ford plants closing by 2012.

"It's a very sad day to see all these jobs going away," said employee Frank Ramundo.

Employees were offered buyouts, and some will transfer to the Sharonville plant. Others will be left looking for work.

"I just keep praying about what's gonna happen with it and hope I find a job that will sustain my family," said employee Susan Kahall.

And one of the people who helped bring Ford to Batavia hopes the township will find something to fill 2.4 million square feet left empty.

"It's just a wonderful thing to have our township explode as it did and then to have something let the air out of the balloon," said Lewis.

Clermont County commissioner Bill Proud said they've been working on job training with people who are losing their jobs due to the plant shut down and they're already working on prospective leads on who could take over this space next. Corey McConnell