By Tim Soster - Staff Writer, Fostoria Review-Times
More jobs will be moving into the area as one local manufacturer will expand its operation in Perry Township.
Charter Manufacturing Co., the parent company for Charter Steel, is planning on spending $12.8 million to expand the steel operations at the U.S. 23 plant located just south of Risingsun. According to Andrew Kalmar, Wood County administrator, the company will add 72,000 square feet of space.
The company, which opened the existing plant in 2000, processes steel coil and rod for use in making fasteners. Charter Steel primarily supplies the Midwest.
Kalmar said the expansion will add 16 new employees to the facility. Charter Steel currently has 38 employees at the Perry Township facility.
"The expansion means a lot to Wood County," said Wade Gottschalk, associate director of the Wood County Economic Development Corporation. "Especially in an area that does not have a lot of industrial tax base."
To help with the expansion, the Wood County Commissioners agreed to a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement for the company during this week's meeting. Included in the agreement is a stipulation that the company pay the Lakota School District its share of the tax revenue.
"The commissioners would not agree to a tax abatement without taking care of the schools," Gottschalk added.
Gottschalk said that the company is waiting on final approval from the state before it proceeds with the expansion.
John Couper, chief financial officer for Charter Manufacturing Co., said the company will break ground sometime near the end of February when a foundation can be poured.
Couper said the company will add four furnaces and expand the wire pickling line. Pickling wire is a process of dipping the steel rod and coils in an acid bath to clean it. The wire then gets coated to help it be properly lubricated.
Couper said the Perry Township location is centrally located between operations in Cleveland and customers and suppliers in Detroit and was ideal for expansion. "Right now we are using outside suppliers," he added. "We could either expand, build in Wisconsin or continue to use outside suppliers."
Couper said the company crunched the numbers and decided expanding the facility was the way to go. "We went through the numbers and with the abatement it made sense to expand," he explained.
The company will utilize local contractors to build the facility. Rudolph-Libbe Inc., Toledo, has been hired for construction. "It will be good for the local economy," he added.
Couper said the first set of furnaces in the new expansion will be started in August followed by the second set in October. "We should be fully operational by December 2005."