State grant gives boost to Triad Metals

COLUMBIA CITY — A company that began construction of a new manufacturing facility here in Whitley County last year is going to get a boost from the state.Triad Metals International, which broke ground on a 165,000 square-foot distribution facility in the Rail Connect Business Park east of Columbia City last fall, will receive a $250,000 Community Economic Development Program Grant.The announcement was made earlier this week in a statement from Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and came less than a week after Whitley County learned it would lose an industry that received such a grant last year.The grant will be earmarked for capital equipment for the company and comes from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.Greatbatch Medical, Inc. was targeted for such a grant in March, 2010 but announced last week it would move its Columbia City assets to a new facility in western Allen County.“We’ve been pretty fortunate that we’ve been able to access that money (CDBG grants) on several different occasions,” said Alan Tió, executive director of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.“This (Triad Metals) represents 35 new jobs and $10,000 of new investment,” said Tió.The funds available from the grant were allocated to Indiana after several natural disasters in 2008 caused damage in many areas across the state, according to the lieutenant governor’s office.“In these tough economic times, it is critical to leverage all of the resources we can to spur economic growth in rural Hoosier communities,” said Skillman.“By supporting Triad Metals, Whitley County is driving economic recovery in their community in a growing business sector.” Triad Metals is a wholesale distributor of structural steel.The grant will fund the purchase of four state-of-the-art saws, four cranes for the purpose of moving product in the warehouse, and a heavy-duty forklift,” according to Triad’s Chief Executive Officer Ronald J. Hammond. “Despite the adverse winter weather conditions, the project remains on schedule with the buildings’ steel structure erected and the crane-ways and columns currently under fabrication,” Hammond said in Skillman’s press release.“I continue to look forward to the opening of our first Midwest steel distribution facility in summer 2011,” Hammond said in the release.Hammond could not be reached for additional comment today.Newly-elected Whitley County Commissioner George Schrumpf said today the grant was good news for the county.“After the Greatbatch (move announcement), that makes it a lot better,” he said.The original grant for Greatbatch was “deobligated,” according to Tió.Tio reapplied for that $195,000 grant for an as-yet unannounced project.The Triad grant was a separate grant altogether, according to Tió.“It more than anything else seals the deal,” said Schrumpf. “I don’t think they (Triad) had any grants at that point.”Tió will present the grant announcement to the Whitley County’s Board of Commissioners on Monday, according to Schrumpf.