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Clintonville’s Deluxe Plastics expanding

Machinery addition will create jobs

By Bert Lehman

The city of Clintonville will apply for Community Development Block Grant funds that, if awarded, would be lent to Deluxe Plastics for an expansion project.

The Clintonville City Council approved submitting the application following an open hearing at the Dec. 11 council meeting.

“We are looking at doing a CDBG Economic Development application. It’s a tool the state provides to municipalities to encourage and support business development and expansion,” Clintonville City Administrator Sharon Eveland told those in attendance at the hearing. “We have been working with Bob [Wirth] from Deluxe Plastics on a project that we have determined is eligible for this funding.”

Dave Thiel, executive director of Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation, told attendees that the CDBG program is a federal program that was started in 1974 and is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“The community development block grant economic development program is designed to stimulate economic development activity by assisting the private sector to create or retain jobs for low to moderate income people, primarily through loans to businesses,” Thiel said.

If approved, the funds are awarded to the local government and then lent to the business, Thiel said. In this case, the funds would be awarded to the city of Clintonville, who in turn would lend the funds to Deluxe Plastics.

Thiel said Deluxe Plastics is requesting the funds to purchase molding machines.

“The result of what they’re doing will end up creating approximately 15 to 20 new jobs,” Thiel said. “And the amount of money we’re trying to get for the city of Clintonville, which is what we’d loan to [Deluxe Plastics] is between $150,000 and $400,000.”

The state of Wisconsin would decide the final amount awarded.

“The city really is focused on the economic development programs,” Eveland said. “It’s about expanding and retaining these businesses. We have to understand in the community that economic development isn’t just about bringing new businesses and new industries to town. It’s about supporting what we have that’s existing. And this program, this application is a potential way for us to do that.”

Alderwoman Julie Stumbris asked if Deluxe Plastics would expand its building as part of the equipment expansion.

Bob Wirth, operations manager for Deluxe Plastics, said there is no building expansion planned.

Currently Deluxe Plastics employees 159 employees, with plans to increase that to 177, Wirth said.

The planned expansion is two-fold.

“We are procuring one 900-ton, two shop press, which really lends us to the opportunity to provide product, inlaid molding it’s called,” Wirth said. “It’s something quite proprietary. There’s not a lot of people out there doing it. We’re getting better at it and the market is coming to us, so we know we have to do something from that perspective.”

He said the second part of the project is the company is procuring three 500-ton machines to bring product back from China.
“Our plan is we will be bringing back approximately 75,000 units that will come out of the China facilities now, and they’re going to be making them here in the States,” Wirth said.

Alderman Jim Supanich asked what the timeframe would be for installing the equipment.

Wirth said the equipment is already in transit on boats, and the company hopes to install the equipment in February.

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