The Vigo County Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to give 10-year property and personal tax abatements to Great Dane LLC, which will consolidate nine plants around the country that fabricate assembly parts for truck trailers into one facility located in Vigo County.

The council also unanimously elected Aaron Loudermilk and David Thompson to serve as its president and president pro tempore, respectively, in 2022.

Great Dane will spend $42.25 million in new equipment and $7.75 million in building improvements to its Vigo County facility, located at 4901 N. 13th St. in Terre Haute. It will add 125 fulltime jobs at a rate of $25 per hour, marking $6.5 million in new payroll. It will also retain 483 jobs at an average rate of $21.69 per hour, which represents more than $21.7 million in annual payroll.

The Vigo County plant fabricates enough assembly parts for about 7,500 trailers per year, while Great Dane company-wide produces parts for about 40,000 to 45,000 trailers per year. All parts will be fabricated in the Terre Haute facility, using robotic welding and automation systems, before being shipped to the other assembly plants.

Previously, Matthew Johnson, plant manager of Great Dane’s Vigo County facility, told the County Council “The trailer industry is booming,” but added, “The buildings at this [Vigo County] campus are very old. It requires a lot of renovations both on the outside and inside, foundational work, walls, a lot of new lighting to make it a state-of-the-art facility and we also want it to be a showcase for customers.”

Great Dane plans to start renovation and equipment installation in January, with production beginning in May. Targeted completion date is Dec. 31, 2024.

Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer addressed the Council, suggesting that $100,000 ARPA funding be used for grants for local recovery agencies in conjunction with the opening of the new Vigo County Jail.

Council members were supportive of the idea but wanted to confirm that official guidance that ARPA money can be utilized on such an investment.
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