Fort Wayne, IN (Nov. 18, 2013) – Two northeast Indiana properties in the service area of Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) have been designated as “shovel-ready” Food Processing and Beverage Industry sites.
The 36-acre Kendallville East Industrial Park and 62-acre Decatur Industrial Park have both been certified through the Austin Shovel-Ready for Food Processing Designation Program. These two sites, along with a previous Austin-certified site in Muncie, are the featured Food Processing designated properties within the service territory of I&M, an operating unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP).
“Indiana Michigan Power is proud to lead this effort to grow Indiana’s economy with the designation of two additional Austin Food Processing sites,” said Rob Cleveland, manager of economic and business development at Indiana Michigan Power. “Many of the I&M-served communities can supply an abundance of water and a skilled workforce, which are two of the most important requirements sought by Food Processing and Beverage companies. By having three Austin Food Processing certified sites within the I&M service territory, we hope to add additional food processing and beverage companies to an already diverse regional economy.”
These certified sites should add to the northeast Indiana region’s strength in the food processing industry, which is leading the U.S. in food manufacturing growth. Employment in the food manufacturing sector in northeast Indiana grew 29 percent in 2012, compared to a national decline of six percent. With companies that include Kraft, Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Bunge North America, Weaver Popcorn and Red Gold, nearly 500 jobs in this sector were announced in the past year.
I&M provides electric service to both the Kendallville and Decatur sites. I&M rates in Indiana are among the lowest in the United States, at 16 percent less than the state average and 17 percent less than the national average. I&M draws power from a variety of industry-favorable energy resources, including coal, nuclear, wind and hydro.
The 36-acre industrial park in Kendallville offers easy access to Norfolk and Southern Rail, Interstate 69 and U.S. 6The 62-acre industrial park in Decatur is located just a half-mile off of U.S. Highway 27/33 (a four-lane divided highway), and 14 miles from Interstate 469.
“Decatur is excited to have earned this food processing certification,” said John Schultz, Mayor of the City of Decatur. “It wasn’t an easy process, but this certification is well worth all our efforts. Not only are we now certified for food processing, but we are more prepared to assist a food or beverage company when they locate in Decatur. We look forward to welcoming a food processing company to the Decatur Industrial Park and our community.”
“Having our site certified for food processing positions Kendallville to tap a key economic development market,” said Suzanne Handshoe, Mayor of the City of Kendallville. “The exhaustive process was well worth the time invested by both my team and the Noble County EDC. We are hopeful that site selectors across the country will now know where Kendallville, Indiana is and understand why we are a great community in which to do business.”
The Austin Food Processing Designation verifies that the two sites meet or exceed the requirements for food processing operations, addressing such factors as labor, network logistics, transportation, utilities, communications, taxes/incentives, business/community climate, building/site characteristics, quality of life and environmental regulations. As part of the process, Austin principals involved in the analysis completed a detailed field investigation of each site including meetings with economic development utility officials and governmental leaders representing the respective communities and Northeast Indiana region.
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Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,500 employees serve more than 582,000 customers. It operates 3,595 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,110 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company also provides its customers 250 MW of purchased wind generation.
I&M is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
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