City approves two industry growth projects

As part of economic development improvements, new street lights and sidewalks are planned along Sixth Street. Tony Walters | Pharos-Tribune

Two major expansions of Logansport industries are set to get $300,000 in help from the city for a total of $20 million of improvements.

The construction work also means 25 more jobs will come to the city, according to the statement of benefits forms the companies filled out.

The Logansport Economic Development Commission approved the financial incentives for two companies: the Nebraska-based BHJ — operating locally as pet food manufacturer Protein LLC at 81 E. Industrial Boulevard — and Myers Spring Company at 720 Water St.

Both businesses will be funded through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) money from their respective areas.

BHJ could receive $200,000 from the TIF district around Cass County-Logansport Industrial Park on SR29 south of city limits. That money will pay for infrastructure work outside the factory, including upgrades to the electric and storm water systems, according to the resolution the Commission passed.

BHJ is spending an estimated $17 million to build space for a new engine room, an increase in its plate freezing operation and a new cold storage building.

This agreement replaces one the Commission passed last year and is a slight increase, said Bill Cuppy, Executive Director of the Cass Logansport Economic Development Organization. He said the project is costing $2 million more than estimated last year. The TIF incentive increased from $138,495 to $200,000 because of that.

The 15 new jobs BHJ plans to add would be mostly operational and add an estimated $382,720 annually to the company’s local $4.2 million payroll, Cuppy said, citing the statement of benefits form the company submitted.

It would also increase the staff from 112 to 127, and Cuppy said the new jobs would likely pay about $12.50 an hour, based on those figures.

Myers Spring is set to receive $100,000 to add 44,960 square feet to its existing plant.

The money will come from the Gateway/Combined TIF and will go toward electric and storm water upgrades, according to the resolution.

The $3.8 million in improvements will include equipment, Cuppy said. The company plans to add 10 employees to the current 54, adding $300,000 to its annual payroll. The jobs would pay an average of$14.50 an hour, he said.

He added that both projects are using local construction firms for the work.

All increases in property taxes from the new or expanded businesses go towards paying off the investment the city made in infrastructure, such as storm water systems, sewer lines or roads.

Also at the meeting, the Commission received one bid for the Sixth Street streetscape improvements. The work will be from the alley north of Broadway up to the Sixth Street bridge. It will include new sidewalks and curbs, and the city is going to put pavers, trees and historic-style lighting in later, said Cuppy.

The bid specifications call for placing utilities underground, having ADA ramps at corners and alleyways and putting new areas for pedestrian lights.

“(We’re) trying to make it look like the rest of downtown,” Cuppy said. “We’re just trying to make downtown look consistent.”

The bidder is Solid Finish of Galveston with a cost of $159,000. The Commission is expected to vote on the bid at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117

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