During a public hearing prior to the start of the first Washington City Council meeting of the month, officials learned more about Eagle Railcar, a new business located in the city’s west end.
“We are so pleased to be here,” said Jim Wetzel, Eagle Railcar sales and marketing manager, who attended the public hearing with Eagle Railcar co-owner Marc Walraven and local shop manager John Chandler among others affiliated with the business.
Wetzel told council members during the hearing of a resolution for a tax abatement area as well as abatements on the real and personal property. David Umpleby, with the French Lick Community Development Entity, the lender, helped Walraven identify a variety of incentives from both the federal and state government.
Umpleby said the incentives Eagle Railcar qualified for meant more could be invested in the company at the beginning of its tenure in Daviess County.
Rather than a $6.5 million update to the facility, Eagle Railcar was able to invest $17.5 million in its newest shop. In return for the company’s invest and work to restore the former Brown Field, Eagle Railcar will receive a 10-year abatement.
Wetzel said Eagle Railcar currently employees about 70 and hopes to double that number in the coming months.
“We’re hoping for 150 to 175 employees in as year or so,” he said, adding the shop will repair, paint, align and clean railcars. “If it moves on rail, we can repair it.”
The Washington shop will be one of Eagle Railcar’s largest shops.
Walraven said he learned about the Washington property over a year ago and began the process of purchasing the dilapidated facility from Billy White.
“Jim (Wetzel) had contacts here and he talked to Billy White who was the owner,” Walraven said. “The shop had had been bobbing along. We looked at the location and it had good bones.”
During the city council meeting, the resolutions required to put Eagle Railcar’s abatement in place was approved.