Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize $3.4 million in low-interest bonds to help finance a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in the newly developing Vernon Industrial Plaza.

If approved by the state, the bonds would help McKnight Industries Inc., a Vernon-based maker of furniture and patio equipment, to construct a new plant on the former site of the Bethlehem Steel Corp. plant, which closed in 1982.

Darrell Clapp, a member of the county's nonprofit Economic Development Corp., said McKnight Industries is the fourth company since September to win county approval for low-interest loans to build within the 103-acre industrial park. Altogether, those firms have qualified for $17.7 million in bonds for projects that will create nearly 400 jobs, Clapp said. The state is expected to approve McKnight Industries' application sometime in the next month, he said.

County officials said industrial developers have now purchased 70% of the former Bethlehem site, where 1,100 employees had worked before the steel company closed the facility. Officials said they hope the industrial park will provide at least that many jobs when new manufacturing plants are completed.

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