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Navy LCS Contract Will Have Historic Economic Impact for Marinette


MARINETTE, Wis. (WTAQ) - President Barack Obama has signed it, and now the results of the Navy contract for 10 warships given to Marinette Marine can begin to be reality.

The continuing resolution was approved in both the U.S. House and Senate Tuesday, with the President adding his signature to it Wednesday.

President and CEO Richard McCreary says it starts with a big Christmas gift for the 180 recently laid off workers.

"It at least gives them knowledge that in the April to July time frame we'll be able to recall them," McCreary says. "And be back to full employment by the end of July."

McCreary says after that they double the size of their employees to about 2,000. 

Outside of the $5 billion contract itself, about $500 million a year will be pumped into the economies of Wisconsin and Michigan. It's a level of economic impact that pretty historic, so says Marinette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and CEO Mary Johns.

She looks back to when the railroad came to Marinette 130 years ago.

"That is the time most of our families moved to the area," Johns says. "And I think this contract will serve much of the same purpose, it will take our community to another level."

But McCreary hopes this isn't just a short-term stimulus.

"When you look at what the Navy's projection is, they want 55 littoral combat ships total," McCreary says. "So we would anticipate this inital contract for 10 would grow to at least half the class."

It would stretch about five to eight years worth of work, to about 25. Marinette Marine finished its first LCS in 2008 and is now completing its second.