By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
2 businesses plan to build in railport; expected to bring 90 jobs to Clinton
Two railroad industries will locate facilities in the Lincolnway Railport this spring pending final approval of state and local incentives, bringing 90 new jobs to the area.
Clinton Regional Development Corp. and city officials announced during a press conference Friday morning that RAIL.ONE, a German manufacturer of railway track systems, and Utah- based Nevada Railroad Materials, Inc. will work in conjunction to become the first rail-served tenants in the park. They will join the park’s only tenant, the 10-million gallon biodiesel plant, Clinton County Bio-Energy.
RAIL.ONE will build a new manufacturing facility for the production of concrete rail ties in the railport, which has a main line connection to one of the Union Pacific’s busiest lines.
“We had good reason for choosing Clinton as the location for our factory, which will be one of the most advanced production facilities for railroad ties in the world. Its good location and its outstanding infrastructure links were convincing for us,” Jochen Riepl, CEO of RAIL.ONE GmbH said.
“Likewise, the natural resources in this region offer us the best of opportunities for production of top-class products. These are crucial factors that led us to opt for Clinton over other competing regions and, in turn, to decide to create new jobs at this location.”
The new factory will be RAIL.ONE’s first plant in North America. The total economic impact of the RAIL.ONE project is estimated to be $20 million, with 62 direct jobs. According to Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich, RAIL.ONE plans to break ground in May in order to be in full production by February of next year.
NRM will partner with RAIL.ONE, supplying railroad cars to the company and recycling old, wooden railroad ties. In business for 20 years, NRM is headquartered in Ogden, Utah, with additional locations in Arizona, Oregon and Nebraska.
NRM will bring 30 jobs to Clinton.
RAIL.ONE will occupy 25 acres and NRM another 20 to 25 acres of the more than 500-acre park. In order to take advantage of incentive packages that will include enterprise zone and TIF incentives, the companies have committed to paying at least above $14 an hour. The Clinton City Council will discuss the local incentives during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night.
“The Clinton community can take pride in its steady commitment to create an environment that attracts new companies and supports the growth of existing business,” Vulich said. “The two new tenants for our railpark are a result of a vision that began over 10 years ago. And thanks to the commitment of many dedicated individuals, we are now seeing the fruits of their labor.”
CRDC Board of Directors Chairman Rich Phelan echoed Vulich’s sentiment, pointing to the foresight of previous economic development and city leaders.
“The railport has been a long, long haul... It’s been 17 years since Hugh LaMont and people like Bob Holesinger, Pete Clausen and many others had the foresight to say ‘we need to do something to position our community to grow in into the 21st Century.’”
The railport represents a $20 million investment that was made in hopes of making Clinton a global gateway for industry.
“I think the community needs to understand the political risk that the Clinton City Council and the Board of Supervisors have taken in investing multiple millions of dollars in the railport over the last 17 years,” Phelan said. “The community keeps asking ‘where is the payback?’ Folks the payback is here today.”
Phelan also thanked former CRDC Director Steve Ames and former Chairman Bruce Christensen who have been working to secure the RAIL.ONE development for nearly three years. According to Phelan, the company approached the state and was then encouraged by the Union Pacific to look at the Clinton railport.
Phelan said he believes RAIL.ONE and NRM’s choice will attract more attention to the railport.
“This really opens up the industrial rail park.Now people are going to be able to say ‘we have this functioning in our community,’” Phelan said.
According to Vulich, the development of these two industries has already opened up two pad ready locations in the railport along South 44th Street for future industries that do not have to be rail served.
“We’re not done. We’re just getting started,” Phelan said.
Data Dimensions plans to expand operations, build in tech park, add jobs
Data Dimensions will construct a 26,000-square-foot operations center in the Lyons Business and Technology Park that will bring 130 new jobs to the area, pending approval of local and state incentives.
The operations center is a capital investment of $6.2 million and will bring 130 full-time jobs to Clinton, doubling Data Dimension current Clinton workforce. These jobs will pay between $10 and $20 an hour, Mark Bush, chairman of Data Dimensions said during a press conference Friday morning with City of Clinton and Clinton Regional Development Corp. officials.
The new facility will occupy about five acres behind the Winkel, Parker and Foster building and be nearly double the size of Data Dimensions’ current
facility located at 2001 Manufacturing Court. It also will house a state-of-the-art Tier II data center and will allow the company to service its tremendous growth anticipated over the next three years, according to Clinton officials.
Wisconsin-based Data Dimensions first located a processing facility in Clinton in 1988. It doubled the size of its facility in 1999 and his since continued to bring jobs to the area.
“This pending expansion in Clinton comes during our celebration of 25 years of being privileged to be part of the Clinton community. Our Clinton production facility has been a key contributor to our growth and long-term success over the past 25 years. We are excited to make such a substantial investment in the community of Clinton,” Bush said.
The decision to expand the facilities was belabored for many years, according to Bush, because Data Dimensions is a privately owned, second-generation company.
“We do something like this, we’re putting our necks on the line,” Bush said. “These decisions are things that we bank and guarantee ourselves so we’re all in.”
The Lyons Tech Park is in an enterprise zone, which will allow Data Dimensions to take advantage of job training benefits, tax abatement and refunded sales tax on materials if certain thresholds are met. The Clinton City Council’s Committee of the Whole will discuss the details of local incentives at its meeting Tuesday night.
Pending approval of the incentives, Bush said construction of the facility will begin in late April or early May and be complete in November.
The announcement that Data Dimensions would build the new facility came at the same time it was announced that two businesses, RAIL.ONE and Nevada Railroad Materials would locate in the Lincolnway Industrial Rail and Air Park.
“The Data Dimensions and RAIL.ONE projects underscore the confidence in the Clinton region as a great place to do business and the marketability of the area as a global gateway,” Richard Phelan, Clinton Regional Development Corp. Board of Directors chairman said. “Bolstered by the Clinton region’s economic strength and a stable workforce, the CRDC, in partnership with Clinton’s public and private sectors, has diligently positioned the region for future growth. That preparation is now beginning to pay off.”
Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich stressed the significance of already local companies increasing their footprint in the community.
“It is equally important to have an existing company expand their operation within our community. It is vital for our local companies to know that the city appreciates the fact they are within Clinton and that the city is willing to assist them in any way,” he said.