Plant to install new equipment, enclose areas

Wayne County Council unanimously approved personal property and real estate tax abatements for Sugar Creek Packing Co. during its March 1 meeting.

The tax abatement committee last month had considered the abatements for equipment and building expansions and recommended approval.

“Thank you for being such good partners in welcoming Sugar Creek to the area,” said Ron Holbrook, the plant manager. “We’re happy to do business here and hopefully continue to invest as we have. It’s created a really good environment.”

Sugar Creek plans to invest $2,174,740 to install new equipment and invest $8,727,246 to enclose two areas of its Gateway Industrial Park facility. That raises Sugar Creek’s total investment to more than $220 million.

The new investments do not result in additional jobs, but Holbrook said the plant currently employs more than 600 workers.

“This new equipment will help us to increase efficiencies as well as these process improvements will allow us to go after some additional customers and be more flexible in the product offerings that we can make,” Holbrook said.

The building improvements will enclose a 5,670-square-foot chemical room and water tanks covering 9,621 square feet.

“You’ve been a great corporate partner with us, particularly in the western side of the county,” council member Max Smith said. “You’ve been very generous in your contributions to local organizations; we appreciate that.”

Courts projects

During the Wayne County commissioners’ afternoon meeting March 1, the county’ s chief probation officer, Kory George, presented two court projects for which he has received grant funding.

The first would put a kiosk and information boards in the courthouse and the annex. The kiosk just after guests pass through courthouse security would provide basic information about the courthouse, such as maps, and a nearby display board would indicate court hearing schedules.

Information boards outside each court and in the annex would be tailored with the appropriate information specific to those locations.

George has a $50,000 grant and received a bid for $52,417 to purchase the necessary equipment. George said probation and court budgets would fund the difference.

Commissioners unanimously approved that project. They delayed, however, deciding about a security project for Superior Court 3, because George had just received information prior to the meeting.

That project would put shatter-resistant film over glass windows and doors for the Superior 3 office and courtroom and enable the courtroom to be remotely locked and unlocked.

Whisenhunt Construction provided a $32,000 bid, and George has $33,000 in a security grant for the project. Superior 3 is a starting point, because 2023 funding was not received that would enable similar projects for the other courts.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 8 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.