January 11, 2014

Boeing a no-go in Miami Co.

New 777X facility will make its home in Washington state.

For the Pharos-Tribune

---- — PERU — The prospect of a new Boeing Co. facility at Grissom Aeroplex that could have brought more than 8,000 jobs to the area is off the table after the company announced it will build its new 777X airplane near Seattle, Wash.

Boeing began looking for a new location last month to build the successor to its popular 777 after union workers in Washington state rejected a deal that would have kept the work there.

Twenty-two states, including Indiana, began competing for the facility. Miami County officials contacted the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in December and submitted Grissom Aeroplex as a contender for the new plant.

Boeing agreed last week to build the new plane in Washington state after a machinists’ union narrowly approved an eight-year contract, The Seattle Times reported.

As part of the agreement, the company said the 777X and its composite wing would be built in the Seattle area by Boeing employees represented by the union.

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said it was disappointing — but not surprising — to learn Boeing would not be coming to the county or the state.

“This would truly have been life changing for our community,” he said. “But there’s at least 21 other states that are in the same disappointing boat as we are.”

Miami County officials have been trying to attract new aviation-related companies to Grissom Aeroplex since at least last year, when Dean Baldwin Painting, a Texas-based company that paints and services airplanes, moved into a renovated airplane hangar there.

Tidd said he will travel to Arizona later this year with Dean Baldwin officials to attend an aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul show to drum up interest for the aeroplex and its facilities.

“Even with the news from Boeing, you still have to pursue every potential project and believe in your community,” he said. “You have to visualize it coming to the community. If I didn’t believe that, I need to get another job.”

“Now, we’ll just look forward to the next project,” Tidd said.

• Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune. com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.