Company eyeing county

HANCOCK COUNTY — An Indianapolis-based manufacturing company is eyeing Hancock County as the site for a new facility that would bring about two dozen jobs to the area, provided the county is willing to approve a tax break.

Foamcraft Inc., a 63-year-old foam fabricator with five facilities located across the state, is considering a 10-acre property in the 7200 block of West County Road 200N as the site of a new 60,000-square-foot facility.

If the deal goes through, it could bring 25 new jobs to the county — paying an average $26,350 salary — with the possibility of an expansion, said Skip Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council.

Representatives from the county are working with Kuker and county officials to approve a tax break that would spare the company $364,000 over 10 years. In that time, the company would still pay about $371,000 in taxes, Kuker said.

The Hancock County Council approved the request for a tax break unanimously during a September meeting, but the deal is pending final approval from the council during a public hearing scheduled for Oct. 14.

Rob Elliott, CEO of Foamcraft, said the proposed location appeals to him because of its proximity to the company’s Indianapolis headquarters and its easy access to Interstate 70.

The company, whose materials are used in products such as bedding, packing and seating, is leasing a 40,000-square-foot facility in Indianapolis. Elliott said if the deal goes through with the county, however, he’d close operations at that facility. Elliott declined to say how many of the 25-plus jobs would be offered to existing employees versus local job-seekers.

Local officials are enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing a new business to the area.

Bill Bolander, president of the Hancock County Council, said he’s in favor of approving the tax break because it will bring jobs and tax revenue to the county. Although the county would be forgoing some tax revenue from the company, the deal still guarantees money for the county, he said.

“It doesn’t cost us anything,” he said. “If no one ends up moving into that site, we wouldn’t be collecting any money from it anyway.”

It also helps develop the business park in Mt. Comfort, which has had many sites sitting dormant for years, Bolander said.

“I’m excited about getting that corner of the county developed,” he said. “It’s one of the last areas that’s got reasonably priced land, and it never gets very congested.”

Construction on the site was approved by the Hancock County Area Board of Zoning Appeals at its September meeting.

Mike Dale, executive director of the Hancock County Area Board of Zoning Appeals, said he recommended approval for the facility because it’s a clean industry that won’t produce fumes, pollution or excessive noise.

Kuker said that, during negotiations with representatives from Foamcraft, company officials indicated interest in future expansion, which is always a good sign, he said.

“I always get excited when companies talk like that. We certainly have the workforce for it,” Kuker said.

If Foamcraft receives approval from the county council, construction would begin in the spring and should wrap up during the fall, Elliot said.

By Daniel Morgan – Greenfield Daily Reporter