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RVIA Economic Impact Study

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.

Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .

Web Exclusive: Butler Approves Forest River Abatements

Fri Nov 10, 2017
Author: David A. Rozansky

148373846536581.jpgButler, Indiana City Council welcomed Forest River Manufacturing LLC to the city by approving three 10-year abatement requests at Monday’s meeting.

Forest River purchased a 20-acre campus in Butler at 685 E. Main St. as an expansion for XLR toy hauler production. The site includes five production buildings and one office building, which will be renovated. The existing structures total 50,000 square feet. Forest River will also construct a seventh building of almost 100,000 square feet and the expansion will move into the new structure once completed.

Mike Stump, Forest River's spokesperson, says Butler offers the company access to a hard-working workforce.

“This community reached out to us, and we found that there are families that want to grow with a new opportunity,” he said in a statement released by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC).

Steve Bingham, Butler City Planner, says "There were Butler residents who apparently work at Forest River facilities in other counties. They, and the local Amish population, apparently suggested Butler as a possible expansion location."

Stump says, “The timing was right at Forest River, and it just made sense for us to step outside the Elkhart-Goshen region. We are really excited about what lies ahead and look forward to working with the people of Butler and DeKalb County.”

Forest River applied for the three abatements – one each for real property, personal property, and a vacant-property deduction.

Bingham says, "Forest River committed to 125 jobs in their abatement application."

The IEDC says that Forest River planned to create these jobs by 2019.

Last week, the Butler's Economic Development Commission recommended the City Council approve the abatements.

Forest River general manager Brent Stevens and director of public relations Mike Stump explained the project in an address to the council Monday.

Bingham says, "Tax abatement is one of the few, if only, economic development incentives available to municipalities in Indiana. They are used to retain existing expanding companies, and to attract new companies. There is a thorough review process based on proposed investment, jobs created, local hiring and a record of community involvement, among other factors."

City Council members Ron Baker, Tammy Davis, Jerry Eldridge, Eric Johnson and Scott Lanning approved the abatement resolutions by separate 5-0 votes.

The decision follows an offer by the IEDC to Forest River for up to $1 million in conditional tax credits and $150,000 in training grants, based on the company's job creation plans. "These incentives are performance-based," IEDC says in a statement, "meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives."

Bingham says, "We are very pleased that Forest River agreed to start up operations in Butler, their first operation in DeKalb county and the farthest facilities east for them, and we really appreciate having a relationship with them."

In response to a request from Stump, Butler officials and the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership, represented by executive director Anton King, pledged to help Forest River work with the Norfolk Southern railroad to extend a natural gas line under the railroad tracks to serve the facility.

Bingham says, "We will assist Forest River in getting a NIPSCO natural gas main extended to their new Butler site. This will require boring under a Norfolk Southern rail line."

KPCNews.com reports that the Elkhart-based company has been hiring electricians, plumbers, framers, finish carpenters, quality control inspectors, metal hangers and cleaners, although it was not clear in the report if the hiring was for positions in the forthcoming Butler facility. At press time, Stump at Forest River had not returned requests to confirm the reported hirings.