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RV company planning Indiana factory expansions

Associated Press
July 16, 2012
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A recreational vehicle maker is planning factory expansions in northern Indiana that could add more than 400 jobs in a county that was badly battered by that industry's collapse during the recession.

Forest River Inc. is seeking local property tax breaks and state incentives toward expanding its operations in Goshen, Middlebury and Millersburg, all in Elkhart County.

Dave Ogle, director of business retention and expansion for the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County, told The Elkhart Truth that the county needs to take advantage of a contraction in the RV industry.

"What used to be 30 or 40 manufacturers is now three, four or five manufacturers," Ogle said. "I think we have a great opportunity to continue to protect that business cluster and the supplier chains that go along with that."

The county just east of South Bend was hit by thousands of layoffs from RV factories early in the recession, leading to it have one of the state's highest unemployment rates for couple years and peaking in March 2009 at 18.9 percent.

The RV industry's rebound has seen the Elkhart County jobless rate drop to 8.6 percent in May, which was the 26th highest among the state's 92 counties.

Forest River plans to add 120 employees to its Millersburg location, with 40 more jobs planned at its Middlebury plant. The Elkhart County Council has a public hearing scheduled next month on the company's property tax abatement requests on its expansion plans at those plants.

Company officials also will be meeting this week with the Goshen City Council on a similar proposal for tax abatements.

If all goes according to plan, the RV company's expansion could mean some 445 jobs, Ogle said.

Company spokesman Mike Stump said the tax breaks will allow Forest River to remain competitive in the RV industry. Stump said the company must gain local support to qualify for state assistance, which could add up to between $6 million and $10 million.

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  • Wondering Why
    We were hoping to pick up a good, used RV at a good price, what with the economy being slack. No Go. People are hanging on to them. Hedging their bets due to all the drought and home devaluations, or just a lot of folks retiring? Bottom line - glad for the jobs!

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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