Reprinted with permission from the Vincennes Sun-Commercial newspaper

Members of the county council on Tuesday expressed their intent to grant a tax abatement to a northern Knox County manufacturer looking to expand.

Larry Wagler, owner of Blue Jay Supplies, a wood wall panel and truss manufacturer located in Sandborn, went before members of the council with plans to invest more than $3.5 million to upgrade and expand his existing 38,000-square-foot building located on Indiana 67.

The company will look to convert about 18,000 square feet of space for the production of trusses and wall panels as well as add another 60,000 square feet of new concrete surrounding the building to allow for the proper handling and movement of products during the manufacturing process.

“This expanded facility allows us to keep pace with market demand,” Wagler said in a press release then issued Wednesday morning. “To be successful, we must continue to invest, so we’re happy to take this important step in Sandborn and Knox County.”

As a result of the expansion — and as part of a possible abatement deal with the county — Wagler plans to create at least 28 new jobs by the end of 2023, bringing the company’s total payroll to just over $5 million, an estimated increase of $1 million.

Currently, Blue Jay Supplies employs 104 people, according to documents filed with the county.

A tax abatement of the improvements would likely be phased in over a period of years and would be contingent upon annual compliance reviews by the council itself.

It will be a multi-step phase to approve the abatement, with a public hearing and confirmatory resolution necessary before it’s made final.

Many more details, too, still need to be worked out, but the council did approve a declaratory resolution on Tuesday indicating their intent to move forward.

Council president Bob Lechner said it was “particularly gratifying to see growth in the north Knox area.”

Councilman Rich Chattin, who lives in northern Knox County and represents constituents there, said he, too, was “thrilled” to receive word of the expansion. Wagler, he said, was doing an “amazing job.”

“You’ve found a very cool niche in the market, and you’re doing very well with it,” he said.