Guardian plan OK'd

A unanimous vote has brought the Guardian Glass plant expansion project one step away from final approval.The Clinton County Enterprise Zone Commission on Monday afternoon formally approved a resolution regarding the enterprise zone application prepared by Guardian Industries' DeWitt plant.

According to Commission Chairman Lewis Todtz, the application will be forwarded to Mike Blouin, director of the state department of economic development, for final approval.

Phase one of the Guardian project involves a capital investment of more than $7.5 million and will create at least 10 full-time, project-related jobs that the company must keep for 10 years. The average starting wage for the 10 new jobs must be at least $27.50 per hour.

Guardian, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., announced in July its plans to build a state-of-the-art glass coater at the DeWitt float glass plant. If the first phase goes well, the project could create up to 40 jobs and involve a total investment between $30 and $40 million.

Clinton Area Development Corp. President Hugh LaMont is the Iowa Department of Economic Development's appointee to the county Enterprise Zone commission. He said "there certainly was a competition in their own house," as Guardian decided at which plant to locate its new equipment. Availability of Enterprise Zone benefits were a major factor in choosing DeWitt, LaMont said.

Sylvia Banes, director of the DeWitt Development Corp., is an at-large commission member. She said Guardian has been waiting on benefit approval before doing any work at the DeWitt site. She said the company has received state grants before in its seven-year history in Iowa and is familiar with procedures.
LaMont told the commission the approved corporate income tax credits that come with enterprise zone approval are initiated at the state level. He said nothing would be taken from local governments.
More than 300 acres in the DeWitt Industrial Park were designated as an enterprise zone by the Clinton County Board of Supervisors in late July. The supervisors then began the process of enacting the Enterprise Zone Commission, which now has eight of its nine members.

In addition to Todtz and LaMont, appointed members include Workforce Development representative John Gentzkow, community college district representative John Frampton and county zoning representative Jerome Burken.

At-large members include Banes, Wheatland Mayor Jerry Bopp and Clinton National Bank employee Allan Upmeyer.

600450 Guardian plan OK'd

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