Infrastructure Upgrades Provide Flood Protection in Huntingburg, Indiana
In 2011, EDA’s invested $1.3 million in the city of Huntingburg, Indiana for ﬂood protection from wastewater. The investment was accompanied by nearly $500,000 from the state and $909,000 from the city, which allowed for the construction of an earthen berm and other items to protect the city’s wastewater treatment plant from heavy rains and ﬂooding. Speciﬁc project items included the installation of a four-foot high earthen and stone berm around the treatment plant site, including three head walls and backﬂow gates, and the installation of new portable pumps and related electrical installation equipment. To date, the project has enabled the creation and retention of 107 and 1,225 jobs, respectively, and the attraction of $85 million in new private sector investment.
Huntingburg is a small town in rural southwest Indiana, in an area long known for its furniture manufacturing sector. In 2007, the area faced the closure of two major employers and the elimination of over 500 jobs. At the same time, one of the City’s largest manufacturing employers, OFS Brands, expressed desire to expand its Huntingburg operations, and add up to 300 jobs. OFS would not commit to this expansion, however, unless Huntingburg could improve the reliability of its wastewater treatment plant, which was located in an area that ﬂooded during periods of heavy rain. The EDA investment assisted with the ﬂood protection improvements to the city’s sewage treatment plant needed to provide the reliable service required by OFS expansion and other city employers.
Most of this impact is due to the retention and expansion of OFS Brands, Inc. which manufactures oﬃce furniture for sale under brand names including First Oﬃce, Lowenstein, and Carolina. These impacts helped the project region recover from the closure of other major area employers which occurred shortly prior to the EDA assistance application, and allowed the city to aggressively market the area to other industrial and commercial employers.