PLYMOUTH — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has named Plymouth its 2019 Community of the Year.
“It’s for reasons that all of you here today are already familiar with (and) the ingredients that help make your community special: A strong business heritage, but also looking forward and making the necessary investments, public and private partnerships, government and business working together, a focus on quality of life to attract the people and the workers needed for any community to thrive,” Brock Hesler, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of membership and foundation relations, said Friday during a press conference at Plymouth City Hall.
“I can’t think of a more appropriate time to be here as your community takes part in the Marshall County Blueberry Festival,” he continued. “Hopefully today’s news makes an already outstanding celebration just a little bit better. It’s an honor Plymouth and Marshall County can use to your benefit in the weeks, months and years to come.”
It’s the first time in the award’s 30-year history that Plymouth has been named Community of the Year, Hesler said.
In naming Plymouth Community of the Year, the Indiana Chamber cited a number of factors, including:
— Pretzels Inc.’s announcement of a $73 million expansion that will eventually create 185 new jobs;
— the creation of Indiana Wheel Company, which will be a $23 million investment and create 117 jobs;
— and the expansions of Winona Building Products, Hoosier Racing Tire, Harrington Noodles and Culver Tool & Engineering.
“It’s truly an honor for the City of Plymouth to be recognized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce as Community of the Year,” Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter said. “As mayor, days like today where I get to share in and celebrate others’ successes (that) are a real blessing. Whether it’s reading to first-graders at Washington Elementary, a ribbon cutting on a new project, speaking at a GED graduation ceremony, or watching the start-up of a new manufacturing line, seeing people strive for their goals and helping them along the way is just a thrill to me, knowing that such successes don’t come easy. They’re built on preparation, hard work and learning from past failures. And they always take teamwork, collaboration and real relationships.”
The Indiana Chamber also noted several quality of life efforts, including:
— continued events at River Park Square, such as the Mayor’s Month of Music and the Plymouth Farmers Market;
— projects associated with the Regional Cities Initiative, including the Dr. Susan Bardwell Aquatics Center, River Gate South apartment complex and the Growing Kids Learning Center;
— and ongoing efforts to renovate the Rees Theater into a multi-purpose facility.
Connie Holzwart, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce executive director, Sam Schlosser, Plymouth Foundry president, Sonny Wyland, of the Plymouth law firm Wyland, Humphrey, Clevenger and Surrisi, and Jerry Chavez, Marshall County Economic Development Corp. president and CEO, joined Senter and Hesler at the press conference.
Hesler noted that the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s annual volunteer award is named for Schlosser because of his volunteer work with the state chamber.
“In Plymouth, our slogan is ‘Where community and possibilities connect,’” Senter said. “I think it sums us up pretty well. We come together, help each other out and make things happen. We’re always moving forward. We’re always evolving (and) imagining what’s next. That creates an energy and an environment where people and businesses can thrive. It’s a privilege to be in this work with the people of Plymouth, making our community a positive place to live, work and play.”
City leaders will officially accept the award during the Indiana Chamber’s 30th annual awards ceremony, which is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.