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Pictured is a design proposal for an RV inspection facility on C.R. 6 in Washington Township.

GOSHEN — A national RV distributor hopes to receive economic incentives from the county for a $13.4 million facility west of Bristol.

General RV has requested a tax phase-in for the RV inspection and distribution center it plans to build at C.R. 19 and C.R. 6. It would employ as many as 100 people at the 77-acre site, with parking space for 766 RVs awaiting delivery outside of a 112,000-square-foot building.

The Elkhart County Board of Commissioners heard the employment figures and other specifics when they approved a zone map change for the property in March.

The Elkhart County Council took up the economic incentives request Saturday but their 6-1 vote wasn’t the final action needed. They plan to let nearby residents speak about the request before their next vote.

Chris Stager, president of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp., presented the request Saturday.

He said General RV is a national recreational vehicle dealership and distributor with 13 locations. RVs from several different makers, including Grand Design RV and Winnebago, will go through inspection at the Bristol facility before they’re shipped off.

In addition to the multimillion-dollar construction cost, he said the company plans to invest $782,000 in logistics equipment and $370,000 in IT equipment at the center. He said they plan to hire 101 people at a median wage of $28.80 an hour.

He said the company is requesting a five year abatement on personal property taxes and seven years for the real estate.

Council approved a declaratory resolution designating the property as an economic revitalization area. A confirmatory vote is needed before the tax phase-in would be approved.

Council members voted after making sure that the public would have a chance to be heard before the next step is made. Councilman Dave Hess voted against the declaratory resolution after remarking that he was concerned about having it on the agenda.

“This was a bit of a controversial zoning issue out there,” added Council President John Letherman. “All the neighborhood associations came to the commissioners meeting and remonstrated, so we want to make sure they have the opportunity to talk to the council when we have the public hearing. ... I think the applicants need to be notified that there probably will be some sufficient number of people that they’re gonna have to convince when they come in next month.”

Compliance forms

Also Saturday, council voted to find several companies in compliance with the terms of their existing benefits. Companies file the yearly CF-1 statements to compare their original projections on things like property investments, employee salaries and workers added or retained with the actual numbers they achieved.

Alliance Sheets LLC was granted an abatement in 2014 for property at 1725 Commerce Drive, Bristol, where it planned to build and equip a new corrugated sheet board manufacturing facility.

The value of the proposed real estate improvements was originally given as $7 million and the salaries for 50 new employees was said to be $2.1 million. The company reported an $11.1 million actual value for improvements and 70 employees added at a salary total of $3.4 million.

Alliance Aluminum Products Inc. and Alliance Property Group LLC were granted an abatement in 2012 for property at 1649 Commerce Drive, Bristol. The proposed project was the construction of a 60,000 square foot aluminum extrusion warehouse to accommodate extra distribution capacity, with plans including office space, warehouse, inspections and staging area.

They reported a nearly $1.49 million investment in real estate improvements after giving an original estimate of $1.4 million.

They also reported 19 total employees on a salary of $2.2 million and nine additional employees at $255,229, compared to an original estimate of 13 total employees at a salary of $790,920 and 10 new employees at $343,200.

Barletta Boat Company LLC received an abatement in 2017 for manufacturing equipment at 51687 C.R. 133, Bristol. It reported having 126 additional employees, at a total salary of $8.4 million, after giving a projection of 50 additional workers at a total of $1.8 million.

It also reported investing $1.4 million in manufacturing equipment, after giving a proposed value of $1 million.

Smoker Craft Inc. received an abatement in 2015 for property at 68143 Clunette St., New Paris, for a project involving a building addition and site improvements. It reported having 522 total employees, with a combined salary of $26.4 million, and 315 additional employees with a pay of $11.8 million.

It had projected 443 total employees at $18.7 million and 100 new hires at $3.7 million.

In property improvements, it reported investing $692,721 in manufacturing equipment, $196,475 in logistics equipment and $50,000 in IT equipment. Its original projections included an $881,900 investment in manufacturing, $207,000 in logistics and $50,000 in IT.

The company also reported investing nearly $3.2 million in real estate improvements, after originally projecting a $3 million investment.

Vista Building LLC received an abatement in 2012 for property at 53345 Columbia Drive, Elkhart. The proposed project included building a 34,000 square foot facility for manufacturing and product line expansion, with office, engineering, warehouse and inspection space.

It reported a total of 53 employees, on a payroll of $2.3 million, which included eight employees retained and 45 added. Its original projection called for adding 15 new employees to a workforce of 25, at a salary total of $1 million.

It also reported a $1.69 million investment in real estate improvements, after projecting a $2.48 million investment.

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