County leaders in St. Joseph County have given final approval for a plan to have an electric vehicle battery-making company set up shop in New Carlisle.
Ultium Cells is a joint venture between General Motors and LG to make EV batteries for cars. The company is considering New Carlisle as the place to build a massive new factory to make those batteries.
“This is a once-in-a-generation project,” said Andy Kostielney, former St. Joseph County Commissioner, who spoke to county councilors on Tuesday. “We’ll look back at this in 20 years and this will be kind of the launch point of unparalleled growth and development.”
The facility would create over a thousand permanent jobs and around 1,600 construction jobs over the next four years. The plant would be completed in around 2027. It’s a project that has been talked about a lot over the last couple of months among county residents.
“The citizens of St. Joseph County have been asking some wonderful questions out there and helped shape, sort of, what we are looking for,” said Jeff Rea, South Bend Regional Chamber President & CEO. ‘We went out and found a company that has an outstanding track record of being good community partners, good environmental stewards.”
The environmental concerns from the community have been regarding how the project would impact the town’s aquifer, which the plant would be sitting right on top of if built in New Carlisle. Town councilors say the company understands the concerns and has promised to take extra precautions to prevent any harmful impact on the town’s water supply.
Some residents spoke against the project at the commission meeting.
“I know there are a lot more than a few people who are questioning this development,” said Dan Caruso, who lives near where the plant would be built. “The truck traffic is crazy right now, I can’t imagine what 150 to 200 more trucks a day is going to do to my commute to and from my home.”
In the end, commissioners gave final approval to a tax abatement plan for Ultium Cells to build in New Carlisle. A 10-year abatement on property taxes and a 15-year abatement on personal property taxes.
Now the ball is solely in the court of Ultium Cells which has still not made a final decision on building in New Carlisle. General Motors said a decision will likely be made by the end of the year.
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