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10/8/2018 12:18:00 PM
Railroad company considering Peru for new production line
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Carson Gerber, Kokomo Tribune

PERU – Officials in Peru and Miami County are considering giving $500,000 to a railroad company to help offset the cost of moving a new production line to the city that could create up to 30 new jobs.

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said Progress Rail notified his organization several months ago that it was considering moving the new line to its Peru facility, located at 588 W. 7th Street. 

However, the company also said it was considering moving the line, as well as the entire Peru operation, to its 700,000-square-foot facility in Muncie. The Peru facility currently employs more than 100 workers with a payroll of more than $4 million, according to state documents.

If the company left Peru, the city and county would lose an estimated $2.5 million in tax revenue over the next 10 years, according to data compiled by MCEDA.

Now, in a move to keep the Progress Rail facility in Peru and add another 30 jobs to its payroll, MCEDA is proposing the city and county each appropriate $250,000 in economic development money to offset the company’s cost to move the new production line to the city.

“This would be a joint effort to get not only that expansion here, but also retain those jobs that currently exist and keep them here in this community,” Tidd told the Peru City Council on Monday.

He said the money would be given to the company as a forgivable loan. If the company maintains certain employment levels and stays in Peru for a set period of time, the loan would be forgiven at $62,500 a year for eight years. 

If the company brings the line to Peru, it would likely move its entire operation into a 220,000-square-foot facility at 405 Life Road next year, and the building’s owner would make over $2 million in improvements to the facility. The move would also bring bring around $1.5 million in new equipment to the facility, Tidd said.

The Peru City Council is set to vote on approving its portion of the $500,000 loan during its regular meeting in November.

Progress Rail is one of the largest suppliers of railroad and transit system products and services worldwide, according to its website. The company purchased the former Western Reman facility in Peru in 2016.

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