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Daniels announces 2,500 new Indiana jobs; says 'stand by for more'

280 are in Fort Wayne, Bluffton expansions

The recovery seems to be taking hold after all.

Indiana officials today announced a boatload of economic development projects, representing millions in investments and thousands of new Hoosier jobs.

Nine companies participated in the announcement, which included investments in Fort Wayne and Bluffton. The executives unveiled plans to create a combined 2,552 new jobs during the next few years.

Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered the good news … and hinted at more to come.

"We've added jobs at nearly twice the national average for the past three years, but we have seen a significant s urge of new interest in the past several months," he said in a statement. "The best holiday gifts the state could receive are these jobs, but today's bundle is not the last for this year. Stand by for more."

Brunswick Leisure Boat Co., which makes Harris FloteBote and Cypress Cay pontoon boats, plans to expand operations by moving into a larger space in Fort Wayne in early 2014.

The move will create up to 200 new jobs by 2016, the state said.

Brunswick officials haven't finalized project details, including the total amount of the investment and where the operation will move, said Marla Schneider, senior vice president of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.

But company officials have enough confidence in their plans that they agreed to be part of the governor's blockbuster announcement, Schneider said.

Inventure Foods, which makes snack foods for various specialty brands, will expand its Bluffton operation, adding up to 80 new jobs by 2015.

The manufacturer plans to invest in bagging machines and distribution systems. The company makes products including Boulder brand kettle chips and T.G.I. Friday's brand potato skins and onion rings.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Brunswick up to $2.575 million in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants.

The IEDC has offered Inventure up to $425,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $75,000 in training grants.

State incentives are contingent on employers executing their plans. Companies don't receive the full amount of the tax credits or training grants if they don't create as many jobs as promised.

For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

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