By Michael Hohenbrink

Editor

KALIDA - Progress on a more than $3 million expansion at Unverferth Manufacturing Co. will soon have an impact.

The Village of Kalida has begun advertising for sealed bids on the project. Bids are being accepted until April 16. According to the village, the Engineer's Project Cost Estimate is $450,000.

The Ohio Department of Development will fund part of the project through two grants, said Melissa Ament, public information officer.

• $125,000 for the village

• $15,000 to the company for costs associated with the acquisition of machinery and equipment to support its expansion

"[The grants] support the company," said Ament. "They also support the community."

The $1.07 million in machinery and equipment to be purchased includes: robotic systems, press brakes, hoists, computer servers, a new Enterprise Resource Planning computer system, a communications system, and related equipment. The company will expand its production capacity by constructing a 68,000-square-foot addition.

Unverferth manufactures and markets tillage equipment, manure and grain handling equipment, and agricultural dual and specialty wheels. It employs approximately 225 people at the Kalida plant. The Ohio Department of Development believes the expansion will aid in retention of the existing staff and add an additional 25 workers, said Ament.

VISIBLE CHANGE

Work on the expansion is currently underway.

"It's already started," said Steve Unverferth, president of Unverferth Manufacturing.

Unverferth predicted work would be complete by mid-summer.

"We're starting to set steel," he said. "So you can actually something is going on."

ROAD WORK

First up for residents will be work on U.S. 224 through the village, work that is being performed to accommodate an anticipated increase in truck traffic. The roadwork to be completed includes: excavation, grading, base, pavement, all utilities within the road right-of-way, and related construction. The work will include installation of turn lanes on U.S. 224 at the site of the expanded plant.

It's a part of the project that is drawing some opposition.

"They're going to help one business, but they're going to hurt me," said Tom Jerwers, owner of Jerwers Auto Supply in Kalida.

Jerwer's store is located across the highway from the plant.

"They're going to cut off two-thirds of my access to 224," Jerwers said.

Reach Michael Hohenbrink at pcseditor@brownpublishing.com or comment on this article at putnamsentinel.com.