Mayor: Jobs competition fierce

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – On Tuesday, Casey’s General Store announced plans to build a new distribution center in Vigo County’s Industrial Park.

The project will bring at least 150 new jobs to the area.

But what does this decision mean for more jobs in the future?

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett is grateful 150 people will soon have a good job at this new distribution center.  But he also told News 10 the benefits of Casey’s decision to come to Terre Haute don’t stop with just the new jobs.

STORY | New distribution center just the start for job growth

Two worlds come together to bring economic development to places like the Vigo County Industrial Park: local leaders and consultants who advise companies on where to locate business expansion.

Bennett said for the longest time, Terre Haute could not get its name into final consideration of landing a project like the Casey’s distribution center.

“It’s the basics,” said Bennett.  “They want a quality of life.  They want low crime.  They want a clean city.  They want a workforce that’s ready to work.”

While he wouldn’t go into specifics, Bennett did say Terre Haute is on the final list of other projects.  Prospective businesses like the cooperation between city and county governments and their relationship with the state and local economic development corporations.

Then there’s this whole idea of offering companies incentives to locate in Terre Haute.

The state and local economic development corporations put incentive packages together, and the mayor says the key is getting a good return on that investment.

“In this case, the state put in over a million dollars into this project.  The county is putting in several hundred thousand, and that’s all it took to get this deal,” said Bennett.

The payoff for these investments is jobs. Companies promise a certain number of jobs for the incentives to locate in a particular area.

And if you think incentives are unnecessary, listen to Casey’s CEO, who answers the question “Why locate in Terre Haute?”

“Specifically, the very warm reception we received when we approached the community of Terre Haute and the Economic Development Corporation, and we were frankly looking at other locations as well as outside the state of Indiana,” said Robert Myers, the CEO of Casey’s.

Myers also spoke about the state laws and tax climate that are both business friendly here in Indiana.

Also, business consultants work in small circles.  Bennett said Casey’s decision to come to Terre Haute will force consultants to look closer at this area to see why it was chosen.

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