LIGONIER - Elkhart-based Forest River RV announced recently that it plans to expand to Ligonier to house its parts, service and productions centers for its IBEX Travel Trailer.

Forest River is known for producing recreational vehicles, shuttle buses, cargo trailers and commercial trucks that are under numerous brand names.

The company currently has its Puma plant on Gerber Street, which employs 160 people.

Included in that announcement was the company’s plans to bring 500 new jobs to the city. The question is how to attract that many workers to Ligonier?

Mayor Patty Fisel said she believes some of those workers will come from people working at the city’s industrial park.

“If the wages for these jobs are higher, that will help attract new workers to the community,” she said.

She said the new jobs Forest River will be bringing to the area are high paying, but also physically demanding and not everyone is capable of doing a job like that.

While the company will bring more physically demanding jobs, it will also result in jobs for other things like office and management positions.

“We are trying hard to get the city to grow. This is a great location for people seeking work,” she said. “We are known for drawing pools of people from other cities and towns to our area.”

She mentioned that Forest River took into consideration about how they will try to attract workers to the city when planning for purchasing property at the industrial park.

One way to help entice people to come work and live in Ligonier is by building more housing in the city.

Ligonier currently has a subdivision being built by Granite Ridge Builders to help address the area’ housing shortage and keep up with demand.

She hopes to get those homes built as fast as possible and that could attract people to work at Forest River.

She emphasized the need to put a focus on building starter homes in the city to help attract young people.

“We need to build homes that aren’t worth $300,000 or more,” she said. “Younger people need to have places to live and it can’t be expensive.”

Fisel said the city has to make the effort to market itself as a great place to raise a family.

“Ligonier is a very unique place with a great quality of life and includes a beautiful historic community,” she said. “We have a diverse group of industries here that offer a variety of job opportunities for people."

She argues the city will do whatever it takes to rightfully attract people to the community and pointed to the city’s low crime rate as a reason for people to move here.
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