Ribbon cutting ceremony held at Argos Manufacturing Center

The Town of Argos, Lake City Bank and the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the manufacturing center located at 151 Dewey Street in Argos.
Jamie Stoner
Staff Writer

The Town of Argos, Lake City Bank and the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 6 to celebrate the “substantial completion” of the Manufacturing Center located on 151 Dewey Street in Argos.
President of Argos Town Council George Null welcomed the community. “This building has been an adventure.” Null detailed that in 2012 Clerk-Treasurer Patty Jones approached Mike Van Der Weele (Argos Town Council Vice President at that time) about an opportunity to purchase the property that is now home to the Argos Manufacturing Center. “To Jerry, the town of Argos, Suzanne (Umbaugh), the town council and the councils before us, and to the towns people who supported us - thank you. Today is a big day for Argos.”
Argos Town Council Member Suzanne Umbaugh expressed her enthusiasm, “What an exciting day for Argos! This was years in coming. But today we are here. It’s happening!” Umbaugh shared, “This began about 5 years ago as George (Null) stated when the land was purchased with the vision of becoming an industrial park. After a few years it became certified shovel ready with the help of MCEDC. That was the preliminary site work that needed to be done before anything more could happen. There was much talk about potential of a shell building / manufacturing center for several years. But it wasn’t until Regional Cities that we actually got funding for it to make it happen. So now we are celebrating the completion of this building.”
Umbaugh phrased the question, “Why is this important for Argos?” Umbaugh answered, “When a business occupies this building it will attract workers and people into our community. These workers may need housing. Which we are developing. They will be purchasing gas, meals and other products in our community. If they do settle here, they may be bringing children into our school system. And long term all of this activity will raise the tax base in Argos. This will make it much easier to provide quality services to the town people. Being involved with trying to make the dollars stretch has been challenge – a real challenge in a small community.”
Umbaugh highlighted several accomplishments made in Argos over the past several years, “We did a facade program downtown. Our solar park and partnership with Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA). Our splash pad within the park. We now have a Summer Kick-Off Festival and its in its third year. Our fireworks are phenomenal.” Umbaugh continued, “We constructed a sidewalk to McDonald’s. We renovated our water reservoir and put it back on-line. This more than doubled our water capacity within the town. We purchased Colonial Estate subdivision. Within just a couple of weeks we hope to have an agreement for twelve new homes to come into the community.”
Umbaugh detailed organizational accomplishments, “The redevelopment commission is now meeting regularly. The Argos Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals is now meeting consistently and gaining a better understanding of their roles. This is thanks to Chuck DeWitt. There are park projects in process. The community center at the fairgrounds. The grant has been received for this and this is now in process. We completed our comprehensive plan about fourteen months ago. Within that it was said we must have a strong economy within the town. It was also mentioned the need to construct a building to attract the first major employer in our industrial parks. And that is what we have done today.”
Umbaugh detailed the Stellar Designation program and the role Argos has within that initiative, “We are also involved with the Stellar Designation program within the county. We went to a meeting last week with Ball State and the number one priority for those attending the meeting was to get this building completed and sold. Our manufacturing center was the number one priority at that meeting. Why is that important? That is a county wide meeting. The whole county is behind us and working with us. Our county is rather special in that way. We have a great collaboration with the other communities and we do work together.”
Umbaugh expressed gratitude toward many people, “We are going to be thanking many people today for their help in this endeavor. MCEDC and Jerry Chavez in particular who has been pushing this and pushing the council to get things moving.” Umbaugh shared with a smile and inspired chuckles throughout the crowd. “And his staff Pam and Nancy.”
“Also the town. Lisa (Mullaney) and Derek Jones (Attorney). And our workers. Our town employees. I want to name them by name because they have done a great deal to get things accomplished out here and sometimes there working conditions were horrendous. Jamie Lindstrom, Doug Middleton, Joe Stone, Mike Fishburn, Brian, Josh, Brad and Harry. All of these people worked above and beyond what they needed to. Our Town Council for supporting this project. There are many others that I am missing who need to be thanked also.”
Umbaugh concluded with a thank you to the County Commissioners with a special mention of Kevin Overmyer who is the President of the County Commissioners. “He has been a great asset to the town of Argos and moving it forward.”
Overmyer thanked several prominent representatives who attended the ceremony and thanked several members of the community who were instrumental in the progression of the manufacturing center. Overmyer shared, “With our Regional Stellar Designation program taking place this summer it’s great to see a lot of communities here. I see people from Culver, Bremen, Plymouth, and La Paz here. We support each other here in Marshall County. What is good for Argos is good for Plymouth. What’s good for Culver is good for Bremen. This is a collaborative effort.”
Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and General Counsel of Lake City Bank Kristin Pruitt spoke after Overmyer. “At Lake City Bank we are thrilled to be part of this project. This is the kind of project that is the reason we get up in the morning. To work with our communities and do exciting projects like this.”
Pruitt continued, “I am also here today as the Chair of the Regional Development Authority. We are the organization that administers the regional cities funds. This is my third presentation in this capacity. Each one was under a cloudless sky. If you believe in signs I think this is a very good one. This is a great day for Argos. This is a great day for Marshall County. From the perspective of the Regional Development Authority it is a great day for the region.” Pruitt elaborated, “The genius behind the regional cities initiative is – and I really can’t say enough about the work that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has done with these projects – is that it has encouraged these three counties, St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall County to see ourselves as a region. What’s good for one of us is good for the region. We are more than the sum of our parts if we have strong pieces, strong towns, strong local communities. This is a great project in Argos to really bring a lot of excitement into Argos and Marshall County.”
Pruitt introduced President / CEO of Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, “We would not be here today if were not for Jerry Chavez. Jerry is a wonderful leader and ambassador for Marshall County and you all are very lucky as residents of Marshall County to have him. We are lucky as residents of the region to have him as well.”
Chavez shared, “I am humbled.” Chavez continued, “What a great day in Argos Indiana. What a great day in Marshall County. If you think like I do that this is a beautiful building. We spoke about thanking people. But from the perspective of MCEDC it goes beyond thanking. Its about recognizing that a lot of our funding partners have instilled a level of trust and a level of confidence. Argos should be very proud. Marshall County should be very proud of this building. This is very unique. I challenge anyone here to find a building like this being developed by a community as well as the funding that has gone behind it.”
Chavez continued, “Confidence and trust is very important as we move forward. This building is an investment by all parties.” Chavez detailed the investments made by various entities and then emphasized, “The prize is not the building. The vision is to have someone occupy this building and investing millions of dollars. Hiring people, opening the doors daily, and potentially living in Argos and going to Argos schools.”
“We are in this together.” Chavez concluded.
Mayor Senter from Plymouth, Attorney Jeff Houin, Attorney Sean Surrisi, County Commissioner Mike Delp, Executive Director of the Marshall County Community Foundation Linda Yoder, and Argos Superintendent Ned Speicher were among those present to celebrate with the town of Argos and with Marshall County as a whole at the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.
The Town of Argos provided lunch following the ceremony. Finger sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables, dip, and cake along with beverages were provided giving those present an opportunity to enjoy a meal and fellowship together celebrating their victory.