GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WDRB) – Toyota’s massive manufacturing facility in Georgetown is celebrating 30 years since setting up shop in Kentucky.

“When Toyota decided to come here back in the mid-80s, the idea was that we would have 200,000 cars of production,” said plant president Wil James.

Now, the facility can handle making as many as 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines a year.

The facility held a ceremony Wednesday morning to honor the occasion and re-open its visitors center. “No one I think initially envisioned that this plant would grow to where it is today,” James said.

The plant was first opened back in 1986 with 300 employees. Now, it employs almost 8,000. “To say huge would be modest,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey. "It touches people throughout the state of Kentucky."

James said hundreds of those workers make the drive from Louisville. “We have employees that are driving three hours one way to come to work here,” James said.

The facility is not done growing just yet. Next year, a brand new 250,000 square foot engineering campus will be completed for a work space that includes 700 employees. The new facility represents another $80 million investment on top of the $6 billion that has already been poured into the plant.

“These are things that mountains are made of,” Ramsey said. “You're talking 7,500 jobs and billions of dollars, the opportunity for a town to grow and not just a town, but the entire state of Kentucky.”

The plant is also undergoing a major makeover that includes replacing and renovating old equipment.

“As Toyota's largest manufacturing plant in the world, I think it's really important that we do all the things to keep this plant running at full speed,” James said.

James says he expects the plant to continue to grow and spread its impact across the Commonwealth.

“We're going to do everything we can possible to help them grow,” Ramsey said.

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