Local factories investing in future

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- Two Greencastle industries will be investing more than $13 million in their facilities in the coming years.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Greencastle Common Council approved tax abatements for new investments at Crown Equipment Corporation and Chiyoda USA Corporation.

Crown will be investing in a project that will nearly double the size of its facility. It is currently 165,000 square feet, and the expansion will add 145,000 to 160,000.

Investment in new equipment alone will be an estimated $11 million. The cost of the actual building expansion is still unknown, as negotiations with contractors are ongoing.

The investment should also add 143 jobs to the 341 people currently employed at Crown.

"I just think it's remarkable in a time like this that we're adding 143 jobs," councilor Mark Hammer said.

The project will expand the existing building to the east and should be completed in the next two years.

The council approved a 10-year tax abatement on the building expansion and new equipment.

Also approved was a 7-year abatement for Chiyoda to invest $2 million in four new molding machines. The new equipment should be installed by June.

"Thank you very much for picking Greencastle," councilor T.J. Smith said of both projects.

Following the approval of the two abatements, council considered a resolution for funding the annual $45,000 matching grant for the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center. Director Bill Dory had already been before council representing both abatement proposals.

"You were just seeing in action the kinds of things the Development Center and Mr. Dory in particular does," Mayor Sue Murray said. She added the city would be hard pressed to find an outside contractor to provide the same service as the Development Center.

Council approved the measure unanimously.

Brad Phillips of the Department of Public Works said limb pick-up is behind schedule, but ongoing.

"We're going to continue until it is done," Phillips said.

The plan was to begin last Tuesday, following each day's trash route as closely as possible through the end of this week.

Six days in, the city has completed Tuesday's route, most of Wednesday's route and started on Thursday's. This has included 148 dump truck loads and 22 chipper loads.

While they won't be done by Friday as originally planned, crews will make one pass through each neighborhood to aid citizens with limbs from last month's ice storm.

Council also approved public works' request to apply for a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant. If approved, the grant will aid the city in the purchase of new stop signs.

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