Skip to comments.Milan (IL) gun-maker plans move to Davenport(IA)
Posted on 09/20/2013 8:41:58 AM PDT by skimbell
Milan gun-maker plans move to Davenport
Originally Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2013, 8:07 pm Last Updated: Sept. 19, 2013, 11:37 pm By Stephen Elliott, firstname.lastname@example.org
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DAVENPORT -- A longtime Milan-based gun manufacturer announced plans Thursday to move his 170-employee operation to Davenport.
During a city enterprise zone commission meeting, Karl Lewis, owner of Lewis Machine and Tool Co., said he plans to build a 60,000-square-foot building on Kimmel Drive. The board unanimously approved Mr. Lewis' plans.
If those plans come to fruition, Lewis Machine and Tool will be the second gun manufacturer to move across the river in the past five years. In 2008, Les Baer Customs moved its operations and two dozen workers to a new 18,000-square-foot building.
"I would hope, if everything lines up as it should, that sometime in 2014 we'll make the formal move," Mr. Lewis said. "The sooner, the better."
In May 2007, Mr. Lewis said he put expansion plans on hold because of proposed Illinois gun legislation. On Thursday, he said the move was to gain space.
"We just don't have enough room to expand at our current location," he said. Mr. Lewis said he currently has a combined 36,000 square feet in Milan in a main building and a separate warehouse.
Milan Mayor Duane Dawson on Thursday said city officials were aware of Mr. Lewis seeking more space.
"As I understand it, they need more space, and there is also a concern with the Illinois gun laws," Mayor Dawson said. "There's only so much we can do with where they are.
"They (Lewis) have a nice building," he said. "They're pretty good jobs, and we (Milan) have a pretty good relationship with them."
Mr. Lewis said jobs at his company start between $12 and $14 per hour. After four years, he said, those salaries can increase to $18 to $22 per hour. There are 12 engineers at his company.
"You either like the environment or you don't. We have a lot of young people we work with, and they're trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives," Mr. Lewis said. "So, consequently, they come in. Their starting wage can be between $12 and $13 or $14.
"It's highly detailed, precision work. You work with your hands," he said. "It's a weird thing: You have got to come to work on time and on the days you say you're going to come to work. You have to pass a drug screen.
"You have to go through the apprenticeship," he said. "You have to go through about four years of education and on-the-job training in order to get from $12 to $18."
The enterprise zone is a state-run program. Enterprise zone incentives generally include a 10 percent investment tax credit along with a state sales tax refund on construction materials purchased.
Thursday's recommendation will go to the Davenport City Council in October and then to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, according to city economic development representative Susanne Knutsen.
Mr. Lewis said other states and communities were bidding for his company to move there.
"We've had several offers from different communities," he said. "Texas is very aggressive. They've put together some pretty attractive packages.
"We're balancing whether the distance of going for all of their benefits is worth leaving behind the people that made up our company over the past 33 years," he said. "That's a pretty heavy decision."
Mr. Lewis said he does not have options to buy land in Davenport. Thursday's approval was part of Phase 1 of the project, he said.
"You never know what you're going to find or how things are going to go," he said. "It would be a good thing for us and give us an opportunity to grow and expand."
This state is really headed for the cr#*@@+r!
Another 500 or so announced in the last month will be coming here to WI out of Northern IL too. May be a casino going into Kenosha with its eye on Northern IL money.
Not fun when we’re all picking at the IL carcass, but it makes it a bit easier to do when the carcass was provided by the legislators themselves.
(sarc for those that need it.)
Good riddance to Illinois controlled by Democrat snakes.
Sounds like the place is run by a bunch of racist elitists! /sarc
I wonder if Rock Island will seceded from Illinois and “move” to Iowa?
.308 Modular Weapon System, 16" Chrome Lined