PORTAGE | Portage is a "real gem" when it comes to marketing to new business prospects.
And, added Jim Fitzer, interim director of the Portage Economic Development Corp., it has the amenities that attracted him to live here nearly 20 years ago.
"We have Lake Michigan and the International Port of Indiana along our northern border. The (Interstate) 80/94 corridor which connects Chicago to the eastern market; U.S. 6 along our southern border, which is heavily traveled between Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. The Indiana Toll Road is another vital link in our extensive transportation hub," said Fitzer.
And while the nation and region are continuing to recover from the economic downtown, Portage did well in the last year to attract businesses.
Fronius USA, LLC, announced the investment of $23.5 million at the AmeriPlex at the Port business park and the bringing of 512 new jobs to the city last year. Graycor Construction also located a $6 million facility at the park, bringing 50 jobs. Other businesses announcing significant expansions included NLMK Indiana with a $20 million investment and PSC Machining and Engineering with a $1 million investment, Fitzer said.
The city also saw the groundbreaking for the University Center on Central Avenue under the administration of former Mayor Olga Velazquez, aimed at bringing institutions of higher education together in one place for residents to continue their learning.
The massive Stone Avenue reconstruction project was nearly completed in 2011, along with other infrastructure projects to improve life for residents and to prepare to attract businesses.
"I have lived in Portage now for nearly 20 years and have really enjoyed my time in the community. The commercial development along U.S. 6 has satisfied many of the retail needs that formerly Portage residents would travel to the neighboring communities for," said Fitzer.
The proximity to Lake Michigan, the Portage Marina and Burns Waterway, hiking/biking trails and the South Shore train station are quality-of-life amenities that prospective businesses and residents look for when searching for a new home, Fitzer added.
Fitzer said PEDCO and the new city administration, under the leadership of Mayor James Snyder, will continue to commit resources to help expedite business attraction to the city.
"We are extremely excited about the opportunities in 2012 for new business attraction to the city of Portage, and we will continue to focus on existing business retention and expansion," said Fitzer.