New jobs in St. Joe

Nearly 1,500 jobs and $53.8 million in new, private investment were announced in St. Joseph County in 2013.

The figures were included in the Southwest Michigan First 2013 annual report presented by Ken Jones last week before the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners. The 12-month period marks the first full calendar year the St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation has operated under the umbrella of Southwest Michigan First.

He noted that 15 of 16 company announcements in 2013 were expansions.

Jones recapped each of the 16 company announcements, led by Burr Oak Tool’s 120,000-square-foot expansion in Sturgis. He also noted Merehow Industries, which announced 46 new manufacturing jobs in White Pigeon. The company decided to relocate from Bristol, Ind.

Looking ahead, Jones said 16 proposals are moving forward, though not all will develop into bona fide projects. Nonetheless, the 16 proposals would equate to more than 800 jobs and $122 million in investment.

Jones reminded the board of money the EDC has set aside to hire a consultant to help certify shovel-ready sites in St. Joseph County, which would allow a company to come in and go right to work on a new facility, he said.

The consultant is looking at a 40-acre site in Three Rivers.

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