Menasha Packaging Company and Liberation Labs will receive tax relief for new local investments.

Richmond Common Council unanimously approved Jan. 16 two tax abatements for Menasha, which was formerly Color-Box, and one for Liberation Labs.

Menasha received a four-year abatement for personal property and an eight-year abatement for real property. Menasha expects to invest about $50.3 million in personal property and $6 million in real property.

The investments will help retain 271 jobs with an $18.65 starting wage. No new jobs will be created although the investment will expand the company’s capabilities and capacity.

Liberation Labs received a four-year abatement on personal property and is expected to soon request a real property abatement, as well. The startup company that will manufacture proteins for use in other products is building a facility in the Midwest Industrial Park and expects to open during 2025.

Liberation Labs plans to create 45 jobs with a starting wage of $26.04, creating a $38 million value, and the company is working with Ivy Tech Community College Richmond to create a training program for prospective employees.

Council’s tax abatement committee utilized a new abatement scoring system for the first time. Menasha’s score reduced the company’s nine-year request on real property to the eight-year abatement awarded.

Other actions

Council also unanimously approved a request from Greg Stiens, the city’s director of public works and engineering, to apply for an Indiana Department of Transportation Community Crossings grant.

The grant would pay 50% of the $640,051.89 cost to mill and pave 12 city streets. The city’s $320,025.95 portion will come from motor vehicle highway funds and redevelopment funds.

Stiens said the city has received nearly $5 million in Community Crossings’ seven years that has helped pave 42 miles of the city’s 192 road miles.

An ordinance that requests zoning changes for a new mixed-residential community on South 37th Street was referred to the Richmond Advisory Plan Commission. A public hearing for the zoning request is scheduled for the plan commission’s meeting at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 24, then the ordinance will return to council for a final decision.

Litter issue

Howard Price, who ran for mayor during the 2023 election, addressed council about litter.

Price said there needs to be enforcement of litter ordinances to make the city look better. He recommended the current $25 fine for littering be raised to $100. That and community service picking up litter might get the attention of people, he said.

Price also noted he has never seen one sign about litter within the city. He told council he would appreciate anything the city could do to emphasize not littering.

Council President Gary Turner told Price that the city has been working to update city code and one area included in the update is the city’s fine schedules. Turner said the project might be completed this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 24 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

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