WATERLOO – Butler County is eager to welcome a new rail car maintenance service rolling into town this summer. In tow will be more than 250 jobs and a planned capital investment of $60 million into the community.
The rail car renovation and manufacturing business, TrinityRail, is on track to break ground in July on 230 acres at Butler Logistics Park, located between Shell Rock and Clarksville near 220th Street and Vail Avenue.
“There’s a lot of unique opportunities that will come out of this,” said Jeff Kolb, executive director of the Butler County Development Alliance. “They want to nurture and give local people an opportunity to become employees but also to grow as people.”
A groundbreaking ceremony date for mid-July has not yet been set, but Kolb anticipates Gov. Kim Reynolds will attend as well as Clarksville Mayor Val Swinton and Shell Rock Mayor Larry Young.
“It will be a major investment for our area,” said Swinton. “I think it’s going to give us quite a boost to have a major plant like that so close.”
TrinityRail, a division of Dallas, Texas-based Trinity Industries, provides services and products for rail transportation, including repairs, maintenance and modifications. The business plans to be fully operation by the end of 2020.
A Trinity spokesperson said the rural Iowa community was selected based on Iowa’s pro-business climate, well-trained workforce and operational flexibility.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority board awarded tax benefits in May through the High Quality Jobs program in support of this project.
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“This project is really a perfect fit. It’s manufacturing-intense, and our region has a really strong background and heritage in manufacturing,” Kolb said.
Jobs will include welding, painting, metal fabricating, cleaning and some administrative positions, “of which 28 are incented at a qualifying wage of $21.43 per hour,” according to a release from IEDA.
Butler Logistics Park, located two miles northwest of Shell Rock, also houses the Flint Hills Resources ethanol plant, American Colloid and Zinpro facilities as well as a yard facility for Iowa Northern Railway.
Kolb, also a Clarksville city councilman, said he has been impressed with Trinity’s intention to become a member of the rural communities of Shell Rock and Clarksville.
“That is a very strong and important corporate philosophy for Trinity,” he said, noting officials have traveled to the area for site visits and are working on ways to integrate with the community and schools. “They want to be a part of the community. They want our community to grow, give opportunity to the people that live here.”
As the ag economy continues to suffer, Kolb is thrilled to add a new sector of employment.
“Most of our economy has revolved around ag, and it always will, but we need to continue to evolve to keep our young families, attract families,” he said.
TrinityRail has manufacturing operations in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Mexico.