WILMINGTON — If Polaris chooses to expand in Wilmington rather than at an alternative location, it’s anticipated to create about 20 to 25 new jobs here, according to the Clinton County economic development director.
If successful, the announcement is expected to be made the first week of March, said Clinton County Economic Development Director Jennifer Klus Ekey.
The prospective project here would add about 165,000 square feet to the building owned by Polaris Sales Inc. at the corner of Progress Way and Airborne Road.
The project also would include the installation of automated equipment, said Paul Eickhoff with Polaris who spoke virtually Wednesday with Clinton County commissioners.
Polaris purchased the building in 2013, and the company — known for riding vehicles, many of them off-road — has warehousing and distribution facilities in the Commerce Park along Progress Way.
Commissioners voted Wednesday to authorize an Enterprise Zone Agreement with Polaris Sales that, if the project takes place here, would for seven years lighten by 75 percent the tax on eligible real property resulting from the project. Wilmington City Council previously authorized the same tax credit terms with Polaris Sales.
The one remaining piece to motivate Polaris to pick Wilmington rather than a Texas site is a final approval from JobsOhio that Klus Ekey said should come later this month in the State of Ohio’s incentive package.
Eickhoff said the company likes the fact it already has an employee team here and has the land here. An advantage to the Texas site is that it’s closer to a lot of customers and products could reach them quicker than from Ohio.
Eickhoff said Wilmington and the surrounding area has been “an awesome community, very cooperative.”
He added the company likes small communities because it can be a part of them, and furthermore it finds flexible business partners compared to big cities where there’s a lot of bureaucracy.
The construction expansion would be an addition built onto the front of Polaris’ corner building where a parking lot now is, said Klus Ekey.
“Hopefully we will have a nice project announcement the first week of March,” said the economic development director.
Polaris products include off-road vehicles (side by sides, ATVs and single-seat), on-road vehicles including the Indian Motorcycle brand, and marine (pontoon, deck and cruiser boat brands).
Career exploration event?
At the same session with commissioners, Klus Ekey said she and others are considering a possible career exploration event which would be done in collaboration with Junior Achievement.
In March, Junior Achievement will hold such an event in the Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area, and a group of Clinton County people will go and see what it’s like. Afterward, they will decide whether they think a similar event would be of value here, and make a determination whether it is something to work on in conjunction with employers and schools in the county.
“It could be pretty powerful,” Klus Ekey suggested.
Junior Achievement was founded in 1919. Its first program was offered to high school students on an after-school basis, states the organization’s website. In 1975, it entered the classroom with the introduction of Project Business for the middle grades. Over the past four decades, Junior Achievement has expanded its activities and broadened its scope to include in-school and after-school students.
The core content areas of Junior Achievement are work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy, its website adds.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.