Oregon company chooses Elkhart for new plant
Posted: 06/08/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marilyn Odendahl
Scientific Developments Inc., based in Eugene, Ore., has announced plans to locate a manufacturing facility north of the Elkhart Municipal Airport which will make the rubber bases for the cones and vertical panels often used during road construction projects.
The company will set up operations in a 50,000-square-foot facility at 1655 Gateway Court and expects to begin production in February 2013. SDI will invest $1.55 million to purchase the building. It will also purchase and install hydraulic presses.
Up to 11 new jobs, mostly maintenance and press operators, will be created in Elkhart as a result of the expansion.
“There are no downsides to a project like this,” said Barkley Garrett, the city’s economic development director. “Obviously we’d like to see 111 new jobs instead of 11 but this is a great start.”
SDI, which was founded in 1973, uses recycled tire rubber to make a variety of traffic and safety products such as wheel chocks, speed bumps and the bases for portable traffic delineators. At the Elkhart plant, crumb rubber will be heated and reformed in the foundations. There will be no stacks of tires or grinding of material on the property.
Prior to choosing Elkhart, the company considered Wisconsin and Ohio as potential locations for the new plant, according to Keith Dahle, president of SDI. The manufacturer decided to open an operation in the Midwest because of the rising costs to ship products across the country.
“Indiana is a very business-friendly state as far as utility costs and taxes,” Dahle said. “And Elkhart was central to our customers and our raw material suppliers.”
Still, Dahle acknowledged, to support the new facility, SDI will have to get more customers.
The company was given state and local incentive packages. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered SDI up to $45,000 in conditional tax credits, based on the job creations plans.
Also the city of Elkhart has preliminarily approved giving SDI a three-year tax abatement on the company’s personal property which are the machines and equipment. This calculates to the SDI paying $15,216 in personal property taxes over the three-year period and saving $29,289, Garrett said. In addition, the new jobs will generate $3,810 in local income taxes annually.
Although SDI is a small company, Garrett believes it will find a welcoming environment in Elkhart because of the city’s reputation of supporting start-up businesses and wanting them to succeed.
“Absolutely, it is a small company but Elkhart was built on small companies and entrepreneurs,” he said. “Several have started in someone’s garage and in the back of someone’s shop so we have a history of getting companies that start off small.”