RES Polyflow pays back loan to Steuben County
By Mike Marturello | KPC Media - The Herald Republican
When officials from Ohio-based RES Polyflow approached Jim Ingledue about adding to a structure to accommodate its high tech waste-to-fuel operation, he was all in.
And that’s when the project was planned to be built in Plymouth.
Ingledue, being the community player he is, convinced RES Polyflow’s board chairman, Phill Ashkettle, and others in the RES Polyflow brain trust that they should put their operation in Steuben County.
“This has been a total joint effort by the (Steuben County) commissioners, the town of Ashley, the RES Poly people, the Klink Group, JICI. It was a lot of work on the part of many. I’m just happy that it’s come together,” Ingledue said.
About three years after work on siting the plant and lining up financing is pretty well sealed, the RES Poly repaid Steuben County a $1.5 million loan that was instrumental in getting the company to decide on northeast Indiana on Wednesday. With interest that has been paid periodically, the company paid Steuben County $1,600,875.
“I think it’s something that’s going to be great for Steuben County. It’s going to be great to have them here,” Ingledue said.
“It’s a very interesting company and I thik they will do well there in Ashley,” said Lynne Liechty, Steuben County commissioner who has been working closely with the project.
The RES Polyflow process converts a wide mix of co-mingled plastic waste into a consistent hydrocarbon. Once online, the Ashley facility is expected to create a new market for the growing stream of complex plastic film, flexible packaging and other low value, non-recycled plastic waste that typically ends up going to landfills or fouling local waterways. The company has already secured contracts with buyers of its fuel product.
RES Polyflow plans to employ 130 people at its facility. After many announcements for proposed ground breaking dates, Michael Dungan, RES Polyflow director of sales and marketing, said he is confident construction will actually start soon.
The RES Polyflow plant will convert 100,000 tons of plastic waste into 16 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and naphtha blend stocks per year. The facility will also produce commercial grade waxes for sale to the industrial wax market.
Groundbreaking for the plant is expected in early 2019.
How the project ended up in Steuben County dates to May 2015 when Ingledue and Ashkettle, longtime friends, were finishing up a golf outing in Florida. Ashkettle asked Ingledue if he had done any work in the Plymouth area, which he had, so the two started talking about a project that was in the works there.
The RES Polyflow project was targeted to go into a 70,000-square-foot existing building in Plymouth. Ingledue would be brought in to add another 50,000 square feet.
Ingledue told Ashkettle that he could probably build a new building in Steuben County that would also meet other needs for the plant, which included rail, trucking and a local government willing to come to the plate with some financing.
“He (Ashkettle) said ‘I want them to invest in us coming there,’” Ingledue said.
Ingledue brought everybody together and the project was borne.
Initially Steuben County agreed to loan RES Polyflow $1 million interest free. Then another $500,000 was added to the pot. The money came from the county’s Major Moves fund, which came from the proceeds of the lease of the Indiana Toll Road in 2006. Because the money was not paid off on time, interest accrued and was paid incrementally to the county.
“It was a good investment, and I also feel it was a good use of Major Moves money,” Liechty said.
There have been a variety of snags along the way for the company.
Ingledue said the roadblocks overcome by RES Polyflow have only made the project better. In fact, it has grown in scope.
“The project has grown considerably since we first started out,” Ingledue said.
The project is designed for three phases. It is possible that the first two are built when construction starts next year, or it might just be one.
RES Polyflow is being built on 40 acres of land along the Indiana Northeastern Railway’s tracks on the east end of Ashley, on land owned by Wayne Klink. The land is part of an 80-acre parcel targeted for industrial use. There is the potential for RES Polyflow to grow into the second 40 acres of land.
The building will be 140,000 square feet with a side building that’s about 8,000-10,000 square feet. Much of the equipment for the process will be outdoors but under roof, Ingledue said.
“It’s been a long process but it’s going to be worth every bit of it,” Ingledue said.
The next hurdle for the project is to build infrastructure. The town of Ashley is committed to providing a road to the property at a cost of about $500,000.
In May the Steuben County Board of Commissioners finalized documents that would provide a $1.5 million loan to Ashley to put in water and sewer. The loan will also have to be approved by the Steuben County Council. That loan was contingent on RES Polyflow repaying its loan.
Commissioners have approved offering tax abatement to RES Polyflow, which also must receive approval of the County Council.
Ashley plans to repay the county the $1.5 million at a low interest rate over about 8-9 years. Because of delay in getting tax revenue due to tax abatement, it will take a couple years before Ashley would start to repay its loan, town Clerk-Treasurer Karen McEntarfer said in May.