DeWitt Guardian Glass plant applies for enterprise zone benefits to expand

DeWitt’s Guardian Glass plant hopes that tax incentives through the county’s new enterprise zone will benefit its $7.5 million project, which will focus on research and development of new glass-coating technology..

The Clinton County Enterprise Zone Commission approved the plant’s application this week for benefits available for the project, which will expand the DeWitt plant to bring an initial 10 new jobs to the city’s largest employer.Commission chairman Lewis Todtz, who also serves on the Clinton County Board of Supervisors, said the application will be forwarded to the Iowa Department of Economic Development for final approval..Todtz said if the plant’s research project is successful, the company could expand the plant to handle this new type of production.That would mean a $30 million to $40 million investment, with as many as 50 new jobs for the DeWitt location, he said.
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Todtz said he believes the county’s new enterprise zone status will help the area stay competitive in these types of expansion situations.
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“It can help companies already here to become even more successful,” he said.
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Under the enterprise zone distinction, the first phase of Guardian's project — the research and development phase — must bring at least 10 new jobs that the company keeps for 10 years.
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Todtz said wages of workers will vary from $15 per hour to $40 per hour, with an average pay of $27.50 per hour.
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Guardian officials announced the project in July, saying it would receive federal tax incentives for the initial phase. It also was counting on state incentives from the county’s new enterprise zone status.
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Company officials said the investment will give the DeWitt facility resources to develop and test new products, while continuing to manufacture others.
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Meanwhile, the county continues to create the framework for creation of other enterprise zones, geared to entice companies to develop businesses or housing in the area.
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Clinton County’s recent census data qualified the area for the state’s enterprise zone program, described by Amy Johnson of the Iowa Department of Economic Development as a “transparent tool” to lure business and housing development. The zones bring various tax incentives to developers.
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The City of Clinton previously qualified for an enterprise zone, making Clinton County one of the first areas where the county and one of its cities both qualify.
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The county’s first job was to establish a new commission to handle creating new zones, and to field applications for benefits in the zones. Members represent several economic development and community organizations in the area.

600450 DeWitt Guardian Glass plant applies for enterprise zone benefits to expand glassonweb.com
Date: 17 September 2003
Source: Qctimes.com

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