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Airgas considers Minooka site for manufacturing facility

Negotiating 10-year incentive package to locate in county's EDPA #1

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 8:09 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 8:36 a.m. CDT

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A nationwide company has made Grundy County one of its four top choices for constructing a manufacturing plant estimated to bring in 50 jobs.

Airgas is considering Minooka in its multi-state search for a location for its proposed liquefied fuel gas manufacturing facility, said Missy Durkin, Grundy Economic Development Council business development director.

The GEDC is working with Airgas and the county to try and bring in the project. GEDC and Airgas representatives met with the Grundy County Tax Committee again Wednesday.

Airgas is looking to locate on McLindon Road in Minooka, which is located within the county's first Economic Development Project Area. The county and company are negotiating a 10-year incentive agreement. The tax committee gave a draft proposal a positive recommendation to the full county board, which will vote on it Tuesday.

"We're very pleased with the effort by everyone on the board and the village and, of course, the GEDC. This answers a major hurdle for us," said John Fick, project manager for Airgas.

The EDPA was designed to ease the impact of the county’s machinery and equipment tax, which taxes machinery and equipment as real property. The proposed manufacturing facility would have significant machinery and equipment, so the EDPA is an important tool for this project, said Durkin.

The tax zone allows the county to negotiate taxes for eligible projects, creating a new investment in the zone. The equalized assessed value of the area is frozen for up to 23 years, and tax money made following the freeze goes into a fund used for rebates for machinery and equipment costs.

Airgas should have a decision on the location it chooses in 30 to 60 days, she said. In Minooka, it would be constructing a facility and plans on a two-year construction phase.

"They have aspirations to be in operation by mid-2015," said Durkin.

In addition to the estimated 50 jobs, with an average salary of $70,000 a year at the manufacturing plant, there would also be construction jobs for multiple trades.

The facility is expected to be about 20,000 square-feet, not including the acreage of the property, which has yet to be determined.

Minooka would be discussing negotiations for the tap on fees Wednesday evening, said Dan Duffy, Minooka village administrator.

"We're very pleased with the help from the county and the cooperation we have experienced in the last several weeks," said Duffy.

Airgas' manufacturing inquiry into Grundy is one of many the GEDC has been receiving, said Durkin. About 65 percent of the calls for information have a manufacturing component.

"Now that the economy is recovering, it's a nice opportunity to go after these prospects to create good jobs and good wages for the county," she said. 

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