The city of Washington has had a prosperous 2017 in economic development and we hope that 2018 is just as successful.

Last year was highlighted by the decision by local industries to expand their footprint, or relocate within the city limits to grow their businesses.

In 2017 the city worked with Frick’s Quality Meats and the Missouri Department of Economic Development to secure a $700,000 block grant to construct stormwater improvements in the Schulze Industrial Park to accommodate their expansion. The project, already under construction, includes an 18,000-square-foot expansion in the first phase, a $4 million investment from Frick’s, and 40 new jobs within the first two years.

Also in 2017, LMI Aerospace completed and now occupies a 32,000-square-foot addition to its existing 90,000-square-foot facility. The expansion included a $3 million addition with $12 million in new equipment. As a result, the annual aggregate payroll is anticipated to increase by $2.5 million in 2019.

The 353 Redevelopment Corporation and the city also sold two vacant lots in the Heidmann Industrial Park to local industries ready to expand.

Lot 12, an approximate 10-acre lot at the intersection of Vossbrink Drive and Enduro Drive, is under contract with The Magnet Group for construction of a new facility.

The groundwork was laid in 2017 for Melton Machine to enter into a contract to purchase Lot 25 in the Heidmann Industrial Park. The 41-acre site on the southside of Highway 100 and Vossbrink Drive will be home to a new facility that will allow Melton Machine to double the size of its existing operation in Washington.

That is the largest industrial lot sale in the city’s history.

In 2017 the reins of community and economic development were passed to Sal Maniaci from Darren Lamb, who held the position for several years.

Both men should be commended for their hard work in making 2017 such a successful year in economic development.

Lamb’s experience and track record, paired with Maniaci’s work ethic and enthusiasm, make a great combination to continue the economic development success this year.