Tuesday there were good feelings in the Newton City Commission room. Smiles and jokes from the bench. Handshakes, pats on the back and welcomes given.
It is not quite time for a victory lap, but the announcement of ABI Chemicals LLC's desire to locate a manufacturing facility in Newton is good news. Actually, it is the best of news.
The company will start hiring and training in June, even before a $4.6 million facility is built at the Newton City/County Airport for their operations. By the end of the year, about 14 people could be working at that facility.
We'll all know more May 12 — a deadline day for both ABI and the city to decide if construction of a 20,000 square foot facility can be completed as quickly as the company would like.
That's the day for a victory lap.
As for now, the Harvey County EDC, city of Newton and Harvey County have earned those smiles and handshakes.
City staff is very confident May 12 will come and go without anyone walking away. Apparently ABI is too, as according to city attorney Bob Myers Tuesday night the company will pay all costs associated with getting to the deadline day no matter who pulls the plug.
ABI will lease the building, and will pay property taxes on it as well. As we listened to the details of the agreement, it is obvious how confident the company is in this project. No tax abatements. A 20-year loan to pay for the building, rather than asking for no taxes and a building at no charge.
This deal is good for Newton and Harvey County.
So right now, those who helped make it happen should get a pat on the back. Come May 13 we hope they also deserve a hug, and the ability to take a big victory lap.
— Kansan Editorial Board