Phoenix Closures plant in Greencastle
Phoenix Closures plant in Greencastle
Two Greencastle employers find themselves at opposite ends of the tax abatement spectrum.

Phoenix Closures is done with the approval process, while Chiyoda has only just begun.

Phoenix plans to invest $6.8 million into its facility, the former Greencastle Manufacturing Co. and Lobdell Emery Corp. site, at 2000 S. Jackson St.

Meanwhile, Chiyoda USA, which occupies the former Happico facility at State Road 240 and Capital Drive, has begun its quest to seek abatement on more than $1 million in new equipment.

At the June City Council meeting Thursday night, a public hearing was conducted on the Phoenix Closures tax abatement request to fund new injection-molding equipment and/or research and development equipment, logistical distribution equipment and/or information technology equipment.

Later in the meeting, the Council adopted Resolution 2021-6, approving an abatement that is expected to lead to the addition of eight fulltime employees and assist in the retention of the current staff of 130 at Phoenix.

Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Executive Director Kristin Clary noted that Phoenix has already started engineering on the addition of two new lines for creating closures such as caps and lids for a variety of products, including peanut butter, salad dressing and more.

“We were making four million caps every 24 hours,” Plant Manager Bill Benson said at the Council’s May meeting. “Now we’re making seven million every 24 hours.”

In making the motion to approve the 10-year Phoenix Closures abatement, which comes off by 10 percent per year, Councilman Adam Cohen noted, “Very rarely do I call something a ‘no-brainer,’ but this is as close as it comes.”

The tax abatement measure was passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, on a motion by Councilman Jacob Widner, the City Council passed Resolution 2021-7, unanimously declaring the Chiyoda site an economic revitalization area as the first step toward abatement on $850,000 in manufacturing machinery and $200,000 in IT equipment.

Clary introduced Kevin Redding as the “very first American president of Chiyoda.”

He noted that one of the goals of turning around operations at Chiyoda is to make the company “a workplace destination.” He also said Chiyoda, which supplies interior and exterior part to Subaru at Lafayette, is refocusing on the community and becoming a good corporate citizen.

Chiyoda, Redding said, “has spent time and money on robotics” to increase the automated effort at the plant. The goal, however, is not to automate the jobs but to hire people of a much higher skill level at a higher pay level.

“They’re taking this very seriously,” Clary said of Chiyoda.

Councilman Cohen was pleased to hear Redding speak about refocusing on the community and trying to be a good corporate citizen, something that hasn’t always been the case, as Redding admitted.

“I like hearing you’re honest about your reputation and not trying to sugarcoat it,” Cohen said.

“I’ve never been the type of person to sugarcoat anything or candycoat it,” Redding said. “This is what it is. We need to change Chiyoda’s reputation in the community.”

To do that, Clary said, Chiyoda “is almost taking the business back to step one and growing from there” and is “working to build a more skilled workforce.”

Chiyoda will also be applying for state training grant funds on the project, Clary said.

As the second part in the personal-property tax abatement process, the City Council is expected to conduct a public hearing on the Chiyoda resolution at its next regular session, Thursday, July 8 meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
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