Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann made Cass County the 52nd stop on her “Listen and Learn” tour Tuesday when she met with local officials to hear their concerns regarding job loss in the county, federal mandates and energy needs.
According to the latest data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the 12-county region Cass is included in had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in July, about one percentage point higher than the nation’s rate at that time.
Logansport, formerly a hub for manufacturing in the area, has seen closings and layoffs at several factories in recent years.
“That’s been something that has been felt in the Logansport area more closely,” Ellspermann said of job losses in the area in an interview after the meeting.
Ellspermann went on to commend the county for what she feels are two ways officials are working to improve this dilemma. One of those ways is the new Ind. 25 Hoosier Heartland highway, scheduled to open next month.
“That’s very good for the governor and me to be thinking about and be cheerleading about for you as you go forward,” she said.
Local officials are expecting businesses to sprout up along the new transit route.
Logansport Community Development Director Chris Armstrong, who attended Ellspermann’s meeting, seconded her in an interview, pointing to the recent groundbreaking of Sagamore Warehouse on Stoney Pike. The fertilizer facility is expected to create up to 17 jobs.
“If it brings any jobs to our area, I think that’s huge,” Armstrong said. “Anything we can do to create jobs is high on our list.”
Another happening in the county Ellspermann considered positive is the power plant that Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin has been negotiating with Pyrolyzer LLC.
Supporters of the plant say it will be environmentally sound, create jobs, provide cheap electricity and allow the city to avoid future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates against coal-powered plants.