VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – One group is working to lower Vermillion County’s unemployment rate. Nearly one of ten Vermillion County residents is out of work and Vermillion Rise hopes to bring industry and jobs to the former Newport Chemical Depot site.
Vermillion County currently has a distinction it hopes to shed one day. Its 9.8 percent unemployment rate tops state of Indiana.
When the last of the VX nerve agent was neutralized here at the depot, the Department of Defense handed over the 7000-plus acres over to Vermillion Rise.
“We had to present to the Defense Department a plan, about a 6 inch thick book of things we wanted to do with the property,” said President Jack Fenoglio.
Currently, four companies call Vermillion Rise home and they employ about 150 people.
“We have currently leased out to different companies every good building suitable for manufacturing,” Fenoglio pointed out.
Vermillion Rise has also made use of military installations, like bunkers, which most are leased out for storage. The group is also leasing thousands of acres of farmland, and it’s also selling water from its abundant supply.
Vermillion Rise has increased its income by 150 percent in hopes of using that money to improve the property to attract new industry here.
“When things do get moving here, we will be pulling from the whole area here,” Fenoglio said. “There’s not enough people in Vermillion County to staff the place.”
If more jobs ‘rise’ from the former depot site, the unemployment rate here will ‘drop’ and could bring more quality of life to the area. Vermillion Rise says some of their existing companies are planning expansions that would increase overall jobs there to 250 by years’ end.
An engineering firm has also expressed interest in locating at Vermillion Rise. Also, a major manufacturer is in discussions with the group in locating a large operation there.