"We are pleased to have a company with the stature of Lilly coming to Plainfield," said Robin Brandgard, Town Council President. "They will be a significant source of new jobs and their employees will provide leadership in our community."
Brandgard said the facility will create approximately 80 new jobs; 50 are in the range of $50,000/year and the remaining 30 in the range of $33,000/year.
The town council approved a 10-year property tax abatement for the building at the council's September 8 meeting. Lilly will move its current distribution and warehouse operations, now located at Lilly's technology center on the southeast side of Indianapolis, to the new site. Lilly spokesman Ed Sagebiel said the current facility could not support the growth expected, and moving it to Plainfield will free up space in the technology center to expand manufacturing.
The facility is expected to be built in two phases. The first phase will be at 200,000 square feet; construction costs are estimated to be $41 million. With equipment, land, and other expenses, Lilly will invest nearly $80 million. The state-of-the-art distribution center is expected to be operational by either late 2004 or early 2005. A second phase would add another 200,000 square feet to the building at a cost of about $30 million.
Town Council Member Kent McPhail said Lilly's locating in Plainfield is just one more example of the quality jobs the town is bringing to the area. "Plainfield's business parks are not just warehouses," he said. "We have a broad spectrum of companies here with a variety of jobs, many of which are at much higher pay than people think. We have Brightpoint's headquarters in AirTech Business Park. The Galyan's headquarters will create 353 new jobs, 141 of which will pay at least $50,000 annually. Puritan Bennett makes portable oxygen tanks for patients in need of long-term therapy, with many of their workforce in the $32,000 to $40,000 range. Earle M. Jorgensen is a steel fabricator and Silgan Plastics makes thermoform products, jobs that pay well. Meritor remanufactures products for the trucking market. The Hitachi Data Systems/North American Van Lines joint venture is a logistics and distribution center employing highly qualified technicians and laborers."
"We look for opportunities that will bring significant employment to Plainfield."
Worst Flooding Ever Hits Plainfield
The worst flooding ever hit Plainfield over Labor Day weekend, sending water over the banks of White Lick Creek and Clarks Creek and into streets, fields, and even houses. Some residents suffered damage to their basements, crawl spaces, and homes, but thankfully, no lives were lost.
"I never expected to see water like this," said Carl Brown, Superintendent of Public Works. "We had to move our machinery out of the (Public Works) garage and onto higher ground in Swinford Park. From our perspective, we did not suffer any losses."
The Public Works department also kept watch on the rising waters and made several evacuation recommendations. "When the water flowed over the road at Crystal Bay, I did recommend to those people that they leave their homes," said Brown. "Broadway Drive was another. I estimate we had forty-two inches of water on the back side of Broadway where the horseshoe is. We also evacuated Mill Run Drive when the transformers went underwater."
"When Cinergy told us there was a danger at the Mill Run Apartments, we made the decision to evacuate the residents before the transformers were submerged so we could have a controlled evacuation and controlled shutdown of the building," said Byron Anderson, Fire Chief. "Most of the people went with families and friends. The school corporation got out a bus so that we could transfer anyone else to a shelter in Brownsburg that had been set up. We ended up only having to send three people."
Parts of Plainfield's Greenways trails had to be shut down because of damage done by the flood. "The Friendship Gardens Bridge appears to have been damaged slightly by water coming up to the level of the bridge and perhaps over it," said Tim Belcher, Town Engineer. "There was rail damage, and one structural member was broken. It's not a major one, but it needs to be re-welded and fixed. We've done some preliminary assessments. A new rail piece is being made. That'll take some time. We need to come up with a plan to readjust the bridge and bring it back to its pre-flood connections. We think the bridge is structurally sound and may be open soon to pedestrian traffic. Getting it fully repaired, though, could take some time. A lot depends on what we learn up at the U.S. 40 bridge."
According to Belcher, the first assessment to be done at U.S. 40 is the wall itself. "The foundation must be sound. We were afraid the wall had moved or gone out of square. It still appears to be plumb, which means hopefully we'll only have to deal with what the water did on top of the ground. We're hoping to have it reopened in a month."
While no lives were lost, Fire Chief Byron Anderson cautions citizens to learn from errors in judgment that occurred during this flood. "Don't drive into high water that's flowing across a road," he said. "You don't know if the road bed is still intact. If it's not, you could be in a desperate situation. We had some folks who got themselves into that kind of situation and had to abandon their cars to get themselves out. We still had to check those cars to see if there was anyone inside who needed rescuing."
Anderson said parents also made the mistake of letting their children wade around in flood waters. "Kids could be caught by the force of water going into a storm drain," he said. "The currents may or may not be there. Most storm drains have a grate, but a small kids with small legs could slip through the grate, get their leg or foot pinned and be drowned. It doesn't take much water to have a lot of force behind it."