By John Reed, The Leader editor
 
KNOX - The new Reagent Chemical rail car plant should be up and running by next summer.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Reagent Chemical and Research Rail Tank Car Facility were held on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the plant site at Klockner Drive and Pacific Avenue, just south of the White Flyer factory.

"We are head and shoulders above our neighbors because of the numbers of jobs we're attracting," Charles Weaver said.

Weaver is executive director of the Starke County Development Foundation and persuaded Reagent to choose Knox for the plant.
The $5 million project includes two new buildings totaling 36,500 square feet and building 6,155 lineal feet of new rail on the Reagent site. The city of Knox is adding 991 lineal feet of new public rail onto the Knox lead track owned by the county.

Reagent will equip new rail tank cars for its use and maintain and repair its existing fleet of rail cars at the site.  After being outfitted at the Starke County site, the rail cars will then be used to transport hydrochloric acid between Reagent's distribution facilities located outside Indiana and its customers.   Reagent is the nation's largest marketer of hydrochloric acid, which is used in the food processing, energy, steel and other industrial sectors.

One of the buildings will be used to line the tank cars with rubber. The other building will be used to attach pipe fittings to the cars.
The plant is expected to create 31 jobs at a wage of $21. The site is being graded, and construction of the buildings by Van Vactor Construction is expected to be completed about March.

Weaver also said the rail lines added to the Knox Industrial Park will eventually result in 2,000 car a year using the lead track, a high number. That also benefits the environment, he said, keeping the equivalent of eight to nine semis - per rail car - off the roads.

Reagent's White Flyer Division is the world's largest producer and marketer of clay targets; it's Caliíco Hardwoods Division is the world's largest producer of fancy wood blanks for shot gun and rifle stocks, and also supplies Lexus, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Jaguar automobiles and the aero industry with hardwoods and veneers; and, its PROSYS Division is the nation's largest manufacturer of cartridge packaging equipment, which is used by cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and adhesive producers.
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