First tenant for Industrial Park-III

    Approximately six months from now — when the weather is significantly warmer than it is these days — Decatur's Industrial Park III, located off CR 450N, will have its first tenant.
    Plans for New Prime, Inc., a division of Prime, Inc, of Springfield, Missouri, to build on the site were unveiled at Tuesday night's meeting of Decatur City County as the process to provide a tax abatement was launched.
    Prime, one of North America's top transportation companies, has entered into a preliminary agreement with Bunge North America to provide transportation and logistic services, mainly truck trailer washing.
    Bunge's contract with Ruan is expiring and it is expected that Ruan's property on Washington St. eventually will be abandoned by that firm.
    New Prime will perform the services which Ruan has handled for years, and will locate in the third phase of the city's industrial park. That property was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Gale Nidlinger several years ago, later made "shovel ready," and then certified as a site-ready facility earlier this year.
    When it begins operations, New Prime will occupy two lots in the park, covering 13.8 acres. Those two lots will be on the southeast portion of the park and a new entrance will be cut there. That will keep New Prime's truck traffic from using the only current entrance, on the southwest side, from becoming an annoyance to any other potential businesses which might eventually locate in the city-owned industrial park.
    Getting a tenant in the new park "is a huge development for us (the city)," Adams County Economic Development Director Larry Macklin told city council last night.
    Prime officials John Hancock and Chad Clay flew into Fort Wayne from Springfield earlier in the day to attend the meeting. Hanock said the company is "entering into a long-term agreement with Bunge North America" and hopes to be in operation by June of 2011. Prime and Bunge already have been partners for several years, he added.
    Once in operation, Hancock said New Prime could provide 45 to 47 jobs and a $1.5 million annual payroll, and is investing over $6 million. He was quick to add that the company also "sees growth potential," and noted that it will initially use only approximately two-thirds of the land it is purchasing from the city.
    A job fair is likely to be held next spring.
    Were Industrial Park III not be ready for immediate occupancy, "we would not be here," Hancock added.
    Macklin praised the efforts of Mayor John Schultz and others in city government and departments, and pointed out that "we were in competition with at least one other out-of-state site" for the New Prime operation.
    Hancock asked for a declaratory resolution designating the land it is purchasing as an economic revitalization area. That is the first step toward providing tax abatements on real property and personal property (equipment): five years on a $1.2 million equipment investment and 10 years on a $4.7 million property investment.
    Earlier Tuesday, the Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special-use permit and the planning commission okayed New Prime's site plan. City council then approved the purchase agreement involved. Mayor Schultz set Tuesday, December 21, for public hearings on the agreement (8 p.m.) and the declaratory resolution (7:30 p.m.).
    No opposition is expected at those hearings, which means the declaratory resolution will be adopted, setting up approval of a confirming resolution two weeks later — the final legal hoop to jump through.