JW Hicks Presents Expansion Plans to Knox City Council

Knox City Council #2
Back Row: Mayor Rick Chambers, Ed Blue, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Greg Matt and Attorney David Matsey. Front Row: Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg and Ron Parker

James Hicks, accompanied by his son Brian, Josh Deal and Starke County Economic Development Foundation Director, Charles Weaver, attended the Knox City Council meeting Tuesday night. Hicks, the owner of JW Hicks, Inc., which includes a plant in Knox, came before the Council to announce plans for a 110,000 square foot addition to the Knox facility.

Josh Deal, who will be the project engineer, explains further.

“It’s a significantly larger facility than anything JW Hicks Incorporated currently has,” said Deal. “The building costs are going to be somewhere in the ballpark of $2.5 million with an additional million in equipment required to run the facility. We are going to bring 20 new jobs to Starke County and Knox and that represents about $650,000 in additional payroll to JW Hicks.”

The new facility will be smaller than the one first announced last year. Brian Hicks explains the cut back.

“The changes we made are largely in capital investment,” said Hicks. “It’s a much smaller facility that will use smaller equipment and will have slightly fewer jobs there, but it is designed to process the same amount of material.”

The company produces a complete line of refractory products, and the new facility will be what is called a pre-cast shape plant. Inside the building will be four overhead cranes, ovens and three loading docks.

Mr. Charles Weaver came before the Council to report on progress at the Knox Rail Yard and Industrial Park. JW Hicks is purchasing additional property in the park and will request a tax abatement in the near future. Mr. Weaver said this is a good time to designate the rest of the undeveloped land in the park as an Economic Revitalization Area. This will consist of three parcels.

The Council agreed to the request.