News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 5, 2012

New Jobs Rise

Could bring up to 80 jobs to Vermillion Rise Mega Park by 2014

NEWPORT, Ind. — Once home to a large stockpile of deadly VX nerve agent, central Vermillion County will soon be ground zero for manufacturing dog treats.

Scott Pet Products, a Rockville-based pet supplies manufacturer, announced Tuesday it will become the second company to invest in the newly established Vermillion Rise Mega Park, a massive industrial park on land that once housed the U.S. military’s Newport Chemical Depot.

The company is relocating an Oklahoma-manufacturing operation to Vermillion Rise and expects to hire up to 80 workers by 2014, according to an Indiana Economic Development Corp. news release issued Tuesday.

Scott Pet Products already employs 110 people at its Rockville headquarters, according to the release.

Scott, which was established in Avon in 1975 as a three-person operation, will be making its beef and pork dog treats at the Vermillion Rise facility, according to the release. It will be using a building the U.S. military constructed to help in the removal of VX. However, the building was never utilized for that purpose but was instead used for storage, said Susan Snider, marketing director for Vermillion Rise.

“It’s a beautiful building,” Snider said. Scott Pet Products has already invested in the facility, she noted. “They’ve done a beautiful job.”

Scott is the second company to set up shop in Vermillion Rise, which measures 11 square miles and is between Newport and Clinton on Indiana 63. The first company to locate there was Newport Pallet Inc., which moved into an 80,000-square foot building at the site in 2010.

“We not only chose this location because of its close proximity to our corporate headquarters, but we have come to appreciate Indiana’s workforce and business-friendly environment,” said Michael Bassett, president of Scott Pet Products, who is quoted in the IEDC news release.

Scott officials could not be reached for additional comments Tuesday.

The state of Indiana is offering Scott up to $70,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans, according to the IEDC news release. Scott will receive the grants only when hiring takes place, the release states.

Vermillion County also received $250,000 from the state for off-site infrastructure improvements, according to the news release. And the Vermillion County Economic Development Council approved other incentives at the request of the Newport Depot Reuse Authority, according to the IEDC release.

Scott Pet Products currently offers customers more than 4,000 products, including its new Pork Chomps line of dog treats, wild bird seed, dog collars and fold-up pet crates, according to the company’s website.

The operation relocating to Vermillion Rise was formerly in the small town of Tishomingo, Okla. It was not clear how many employees worked at that facility, which the company’s website states included 80,000-square feet of freezer storage, cooking and smoking ovens.

In May, a north Texas television station reported that an overheated oven at the Tishomingo facility started a fire that forced the closure of the plant. No injuries were reported. It was not clear whether the plant re-opened after the fire.

The last of the 2.5-million pounds of VX produced and stored at the Chemical Depot were neutralized and eliminated in 2008. At its height, the depot was the largest employer in Vermillion County with nearly 1,000 workers. Wabash Valley public officials have stated they expect the Vermillion Rise site to draw significant new private investment to the region over the next few years.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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