Development Center celebrates local investments, achievements in 2011

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Accomplishments of the past year were reviewed for community leaders Friday morning during the annual meeting of the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center at the Inn at DePauw.

During 2011, projects were announced for the communities of Bainbridge, Cloverdale, Greencastle and Fillmore.

Announced investments totaled more than $61 million.

Commitments for job creation covering the period 2012 to 2015 total 488.

"We have a lot to celebrate this year," Development Center Executive Director Bill Dory said, detailing $37.84 million in new equipment and $23.23 million invested in local real estate improvements.

In addition to those successes, Dory noted the Development Center responded to 33 requests for proposals during 2011 -- 25 involving existing buildings (with most of the requests desiring facilities much larger than available locally) and eight looking for possible industrial building sites.

Highlights of the annual report included the sale of the vacant industrial facility formerly owned by Oxford Automotive (nee Greencastle Manufacturing) to Phoenix Closures of Naperville, Ill.

The company is currently renovating and expanding the South Jackson Street facility to produce closures for the food, beverage and consumer products markets. Construction work is expected to be finished in mid-2012.

Phoenix Closures expects to employ 90 people at full production levels.

In Bainbridge, Co-Alliance has constructed a liquid nitrogen terminal to serve area farmers. CSX Transportation is providing rail service to the site.

In Cloverdale, the former Crossroads Arena has reopened as the C Bar C Expo Center. Once again, the facility is providing a boost to local tourism traffic.

In Greencastle, Crown Equipment has nearly doubled the size of its manufacturing facility and will add 143 jobs over the next five years. International Automotive Components (IAC) and Chiyoda USA both have made investments in new equipment with IAC investing more than $8 million and recalling or adding 255 jobs, while Chiyoda added $2 million in new equipment.

Magic Circle Corp. (Dixie Chopper) has leased the Greencastle Shell Building to support its local manufacturing operations. Another Fillmore firm, Liberty Industries, also has expanded its facility and added new manufacturing equipment.

"With the support of the board and the community," Dory said, "we have a great deal of cooperation within Putnam County and within our region of the state. As the economy continues to improve, our area is prepared to take advantage of new opportunities."

The Development Center also noted the April start-up of POET Biorefining in Cloverdale. During 2010, POET made a significant investment in a closed ethanol plant to bring the facility up to its operating standards.

POET has been purchasing corn in west-central Indiana as an input for the production of ethanol, which has benefited the local agricultural community.

"These projects would not be possible without the teamwork of many members of the community, local units of government, our utility partners, Work One Western Indiana, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation," noted June Pickens, president of the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Board of Directors.

Public and private investment also occurred at the Putnam County Airport. The facility now features a new 6,400-square-foot corporate hangar for Champion Properties (fronted by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart whose plane is based at the local airport).

With the support of the FAA, INDOT and the Putnam County Commissioners, the aircraft apron was also significantly enlarged, Dory noted.

During the past year marketing efforts included trips to Chicago, China and Japan. The Development Center also joined forces with Accelerate West Central Indiana on several regional marketing efforts.

In addition to ongoing economic development work, the Development Center also supported the work of the Cloverdale and Greencastle Redevelopment Commissions, the Stellar Communities Project and other similar projects.

At the annual breakfast Friday, several community leaders were elected and re-elected to the board of directors.

Appointed board members include: Jinsie Bingham, City Council; Keith Berry, County Council; Nancy Fogle, county commissioners; Todd Lewis, Community Foundation; Sue Murray, mayor of Greencastle; and Beau Battin, Chamber of Commerce.

Re-elected board members include: Sue Bowser, First Financial Bank; Matt Howrey, North Salem State Bank; Brad Kelsheimer, DePauw University; Todd Lewis, First National Bank; June Pickens, Crown Equipment Corp.; Carol Steele, DePauw; and Don Walton, Walton Stove Sales.

Newly elected as a board member was Dan Gmelich, Old National Bank.

Continuing their service on the board are: Steve Bahr, Duke Energy; Roger Bailey, USDA (retired); Dave Bohmer, DePauw; Sharon Bone, Ivy Tech; Ralph Cunha, Endeavor Communications; Jason Hartman, Town of Bainbridge; Matt Headley, Putnam Circuit Court judge; Bob Jedele, McDonald's; John Kass, Buzzi Unicem; Carrie Milner, Cloverdale Community Schools; Lori Richmond, Greencastle Community Schools; and Beth Tharp, Legan Livestock and Grain.

Retiring board members are Tim Gierke, HOP Communications, and Amber Bowers, Chamber of Commerce.

The Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center is a full-service, countywide economic development organization. It is organized as a not-for-profit corporation and is governed by a board of directors of community leaders from across Putnam County.

The 2012 funding goal is $146,071 with financial support coming from the city and county government, grants, farm property income and the private sector.

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