County receives $600K for Eaglecar Rail

Dan Strunk, an employee of Eagle Railcar Services in Cairo, grinds off a new weld on a railcar repair back in December 2012.

CAIRO — Eagle Railcar Service is one step closer to expanding its facility.

On Thursday, the Allen County commissioners acknowledged receipt of $600,000 in financial assistance from the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Community Development through its Revolving Loan Fund Program. This funding represents half of the cost of putting in additional water and sewer service at the state Route 65 facility, a necessary component to facilitate expansion.

“The Allen Water District and the sanitary engineer have been working for some time to bring utilities to Eagle Railcar Company and Chemtrade,” commissioner Jay Begg said. “Through discussions, it was determined that they qualified for (Community Development Block Grant) money, and as we applied for that, they have given us a grant through the Revolving Loan Fund, which is basically a loan that we don’t have to pay back.”

According to Eagle Railcar plant manager John Seifert, the railcar refurbishing facility will be able to nearly double its workforce once the expansion is complete.

“We currently have a total of 61 in our workforce,” he said. “I believe this should get us up to about 100 or 110 or so.”

Begg was pleased to see that Eagle is continuing to expand, making it eligible for this funding.

“Eagle Rail is adding jobs all the time, and that was one of the criteria for this to be approved,” he said. “The jobs are primarily serving the low to moderate-income population, which qualifies for the grant.”

The utility expansion is still in the design phase, according to Begg, so no timetable has been set to begin the project.

“We’re hoping that construction may yet start this year,” he said.

Seifert emphasized that this is only one step in a long process to expanding the business.

“It’s one completed phase of what feels like 500 I need to accomplish,” he said.

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