FORT WAYNE – City Council members began the process of considering property tax breaks for four companies proposing $6.6 million in investments, creating 57 new jobs.
Old Dominion Freight Line wants to build a $5.8 million, 70-door, state-of-the-art freight service center at 8231 Smith Road, just off Airport Expressway. The project will create 38 full-time jobs with an average salary of $58,375.
Dowco Inc. wants to expand into a vacant building at 3505 Independence Drive, creating 18 full-time jobs with annual salaries of $31,970. The company, which specializes in covers, canopies and accessories for cars and boats, will spend $520,000 on renovations and equipment.
Old Fort Supply Co., 2000 Wayne Trace, plans to spend $51,400 on new computer equipment and software for an expansion. That will let the company keep 10 full-time jobs, officials said.
Phoenix America, 4717 Clubview Drive, plans to create one new job and keep 27 more by investing $265,000 in injection molding equipment as part of an initiative to lower the company’s carbon footprint while increasing production.
The council will hold public hearings on all four proposals Nov. 27. If approved, the tax breaks would phase-in property taxes paid by the companies for the new property and equipment.
Council members also approved a tax break for Precise Manufacturing, 4323 Merchant Road, which is investing $750,000 in new lathe and milling equipment. The investment will retain 39 jobs; the tax break will save the company about $43,465 over 10 years, officials said.
State Boulevard work draws crowd
In other business, council members heard from 13 members of the public over plans to widen and straighten State Boulevard between Clinton and Wells streets.
Residents turned out after Councilman John Shoaff, D-at large, introduced a bill to make changes to the 2030 Transportation Plan adopted by the Northeast Indiana Coordinating Council. NIRCC helps secure federal funding for road projects by ensuring local road projects work together and do not conflict with one another, even though they are by different cities or towns. Shoaff wants to change the plan adopted by NIRCC two years ago to alter its goals to include the protection of neighborhoods and property values rather than traffic efficiencies, citing the State Boulevard project.
Critics say the city wants to make State Boulevard a throughway for heavy truck traffic and that city officials are not listening to neighborhood concerns. City officials counter that the road will never be a truck route, that plans call for numerous traffic-calming measures, and that they have worked closely with neighbors to make the best plan possible.
Seven residents spoke in favor of the project, while eight spoke against it. Of those opposed, only two live in the neighborhood affected.