Aviation Business International announced at Tuesday's Newton City Commission meeting it is bringing its subsidiary ABI Chemicals to Harvey County.
The company will occupy a new 20,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility to be constructed at the Newton City-County Airport and the eastern edge of the Kansas Logistics Park. The facility will produce next-generation aerospace coatings used in aerospace manufacturing processes, being developed in conjunction with Wichita State's National Institute for Aviation Research.
"We are going to be very proudly flying the ABI flag in Newton, Kansas," James Havers-Strong, CEO and managing director of the ABI Group of Companies, told commissioners.
"The Harvey County Economic Development Council, the city and our city/county airport are pleased to be a part of this success story for Wichita State University, NIAR and ABI Chemicals," said Newton Mayor Leroy Koehn. "Our whole region will benefit from the partnership that's been built."
ABI supplies products to airlines all over the globe, including Delta, Air France and British Airways.
The city of Newton will construct the new facility at a total cost not to exceed $4.6 million and will finance the project through the issuance of bonds. The facility will then be leased to ABI Chemicals over a 20-22 year term at lease rates that will cover all the debt service payments. There will be no tax abatement on the project.
ABI Chemicals intends to start operating the facility in October of this year. Both parties have a right to terminate the agreement by May 12 if either believes this cannot be accomplished. City Attorney Bob Myers said the project has an aggressive schedule but the city and ABI are confident the goals can be met.
The company plans to start training employees in June and is expected to hire 14 people by the end of the year.
Havers-Strong said the company's decision to come to Newton was based in part on the enthusiasm and energy of the Economic Development Council and the city office.
"The level of partnership between all involved parties on this project shows a true commitment to industrial growth and new jobs for our community and region," said Mickey Fornaro-Dean, executive director of the Harvey County Economic Development Council. "It has truly been a public/private collaboration."
At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners also:
• Heard an update on research into the logistics and equipment required to begin televising city commission meetings. A final proposal, along with estimated costs, is being drafted and will be presented as a supplementary request during the 2015 budget discussions.
• Received proclamations declaring April 25 as Arbor Day; May 11-17 as National Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officers' Memorial Day; May as National Bike Month and May 12-16 as Bike to Work Week and May 16 as Bike to Work Day; and May 18-14 as National Public Works Week.
• Heard a quarterly financial report from Lunda Asmani, assistant city manager for budget and finance.