Benton mayor: Boat plant’s closure ‘devastating’

A southern Illinois mayor says a manufacturer’s plan to close a boat-making plant that employs 340 people is devastating.

Canadian-based Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. announced last week that it’s closing the plant in Benton. The company cited a decline in sales in the marine industry, most notably those involving sport boats.

Benton Mayor Gary Kraft tells the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan ( that the news caught him by surprise. And Kraft says it’s devastating because BRP was one of Franklin County’s biggest employers.

The county had an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent in July. That was among the highest rates in the state.

The company has promised a transition package for affected employees.

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