Crane company to put storage facility near Porter County Airport
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent March 23, 2013 11:54PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:05AM
VALPARAISO — A company that provides cranes and other large-scale equipment will be setting up an outdoor storage facility off U.S. 30 near the Porter County Regional Airport.
Deep South Crane and Rigging, which is based in Baton Rouge, La., will use the 12-acre site on County Road 400E, south of U.S. 30, to store large equipment for projects in the Upper Midwest.
On Wednesday, the Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals gave the go-ahead for the facility, and for it to remain on a septic system for the time being, with a host of contingencies. Those include working with the county to shore up 400E, which is not designed for heavy loads, contacting the state about a possible turn lane on U.S. 30, and checking with the owner of nearby railroad tracks about getting improvements at the crossing.
The business, in an area zoned for general industrial, falls within the proposed Airport Zone Development Plan, put together by the city of Valparaiso, the county and the airport. The site formerly housed a wood shop.
Jimmy Gore, who is in project sales for Deep South and will be branch manager when the storage yard opens, said he has been in discussion with airport director Kyle Kuebler, about complying with height limits because the facility is so close to the airport.
Deep South has done work at the BP refineries in Whiting and Toledo, at Exxon in Joliet, Ill., and at the steel mills, among other sites, Gore said.
“The more there’s work up here, the more there’s opportunity for cranes,” he said.
Gore, who expects the business to grow, said he would hire three people for the local office initially. For a recent project in Gary, the company brought in four of its own employees, but also hired 13 people to assemble and run a crane.
The facility offers the opportunity for job creation, said Rex Richards, executive director of the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, who supported the project.
“The company in question is one of the most well-regarded construction companies in America,” he said.