Kenworth to move and expand in Shawnee

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Shawnee Township trustees approved a 10-year, 90% tax abatement for Whiteford Kenworth as the trucking company moves its location from 1420 Findlay Road to Fort Shawnee Industrial Drive.

Under the new agreement, the business retains its 16 employees and will hire 25 more over a three-year-period to work from a 25,000 square-foot truck dealership and 10,000 square foot body and fabrication shop to be built at the new site.

Trustee Russ Holly said he’s been working closely with economic development officials and those at Kenworth to consider the abatement, and he said the company has shown some interest in working with Shawnee Township school districts to provide educational resources.

“I think this will be a good addition to the area,” Holly said.

The new facility would offer new and used truck sales, leases and rentals, as well as extensive parts and service support, which includes rebuilding components and modifying trucks and trailers.

In total, the project is expected to cost between $4.7 million and $6.6 million and bring in $1.65 million in annual payroll for new employees.

Both Shawnee schools and Apollo School District have agreed to the abatements. Final approval is required by the Allen County Commissioners, which is expected to happen Thursday.

If the tax exemption is provided, the new project is expected to begin this summer and be completed by 2021

Corporate headquarters for Lower Great Lakes Kenworth is located in South Bend, Indiana, and the company has nine different locations, including the one in Lima.

“We are looking to grow our business across all regions but are focusing on our Ohio locations and the opportunities they present to strengthen our footprint. The requested tax abatement would allow us to prioritize our Lima, Ohio, location for investment and help ensure that we are able to maximize the investment and the success of the project,” Kenworth noted in its abatement application.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398

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