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Winnebago May Get Tax Breaks for New Facility

Winnebago Industries could nearly double its workforce with the potential addition of a new, high-tech manufacturing facility in Middlebury, Ind.

This story by Aimee Ambrose originally appeared in The Goshen News.

Mark Dobson, president and CEO of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp., revealed details about the Forest City, Iowa-based company’s plans to the Elkhart County Council during the council’s meeting Saturday.

The county is one of three communities being considered as a site for a new plant.

Should the county be selected, Winnebago would invest about $8.6 million in real estate and equipment to build a facility close to the company’s current location, 201 14th St., in Middlebury, Dobson and County Attorney Craig Buche told the council.

The plans call for creating 225 new jobs at wages of about $36 per hour while retaining the approximately 290 jobs at the other plant, they said.

Dobson and Buche sought a tax abatement to offer more incentive to Winnebago to choose Elkhart County.

The council approved a declaratory resolution that got the ball rolling to consider Dobson’s request for a 10-year tax phase-in on real estate and a seven-year phase-in on equipment.

In a separate vote, the council passed a confirmatory resolution to approve 7-year real estate and equipment tax abatements on plans by Chinook RV to build a new plant in Elkhart County.

Council members also approved the final version of a commitment agreement with the Las Vegas-based Chinook — plans that have been in the works since last June, according to Buche.

The agreement includes about $1.46 million worth of investments at the company’s site on old U.S. 33. And about 120 new jobs would be created, though the figure is down from initial plans for 157 jobs, Buche said.

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