THE HONDA PLANT UP and running, a couple of new manufacturers and a $35 million hospital addition are among the good news in southeast Indiana. Also of note: a $38 million, multi-county education initiative and strong tourism industry in the region, which includes Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Scott and Switzerland counties.
New manufacturing. Honda Civics are rolling off the lines at the new, $550 million Honda Manufacturing of Indiana LLC plant in Greensburg. Dedicated in November, the 1.7 million-square-foot Decatur County facility on 1,700 acres will ultimately produce 200,000 vehicles a year and employ 2,000 workers. About 900 were on the job in mid-December. The goal for 2009 is to make 194,000 cars, including the new Civic GX, a natural-gas vehicle, slated for production launch midyear.
Honda's opening drew auto parts maker Belletech Corp. to Versailles. It's building a $4 million, 40,000-square-foot facility on a 4.7-acre tract, says Gary Norman, executive director of Ripley County Economic Development Corp. Plans are to employ 100 by 2012. It produces glass assemblies, component subassemblies and plastic injection molded parts. "They'll open late spring or early summer with about 50 employees," Norman says.
Industry expansions. Several of the region's industries have expanded or announced pending plans.
Morgan Foods Inc. in Austin is investing $8 million on a new building underway and a new cooker, says Robert Peacock, executive director of Scott County Economic Development Corp. Founded in 1899, the home-grown company produces private-label soups, beans, broths and gravies. The business employs 540. "They continue to do well," Peacock says. The company reports annualized growth topping 7 percent each of the last five years.
In Madison, Century Tube Corp. has added two roll-forming mills to increase production of rearview mirror tubes, ladder tubing and kitchen accessories, says Corey Murphy, executive director of Madison-Jefferson County Industrial Development Corp. It plans to boost employment from 100 to 125.
Also in Madison, R&T Steel and Wire Co. LLC has boosted employment from 100 to 130 because of its purchase of Hovair Automotive. R&T makes wire dog kennels and security panels for road projects.
Two businesses are growing in her area, says Vicki Kellerman, executive director of Greensburg/ Decatur County Economic Development Corp. Professional Fabricators LLC, a welding and...