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December 17, 2013

Miami Co. goes after $10 billion facility

With Boeing looking for new manufacturing site, officials put Grissom Aeroplex in the running.

GRISSOM AEROPLEX — Miami County officials say they hope Grissom Aeroplex will be selected as the site for a new $10 billion airplane facility that could employ up to 8,500 workers by 2024.

Boeing Co., which is based in Chicago, began soliciting bids last month for a site to build its new 777X passenger jet.

Gov. Mike Pence said state economic development officials have talked to the company about building its planned airplane manufacturing and assembly facility in Indiana.

"We have had contact with them and discussions, but I won't comment further on those," Pence told The Times of Munster. "I will tell you, every opportunity that we are given to tell Indiana's story and make the case for Indiana — we do."

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said he contacted the Indiana Economic Development Corporation a few weeks ago and submitted Grissom Aeroplex as a contender for the facility.

“We think it’s a good fit,” he said. “But with a $10 billion investment coming from Boeing, there’s going to be some real competition coming from other states … But you can’t go after it unless you throw your name in the hat.”

Fifteen other states, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington state, Alabama, California, Pennsylvania and Kansas, are also competing for the new facility.

According to documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Boeing wants to build the facility next to an airport with a 9,000-foot runway, have highway and road access for parts deliveries and a direct rail connection on a dedicated spur line. A nearby port capable of handling regular and oversized containers also is “desired.”

With a 12,500-foot runway at Grissom, 210 acres certified as “shovel ready,” direct access to U.S. 31 and a solid regional workforce, Tidd said the Miami County site should be a real contender.

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