June 15, 2015 – LimaOhio.com, By Danae King
LIMA — Task Force L.I.M.A. is pursuing several different angles to keep the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center viable in the future.
The group of local officials and community leaders is working on partnerships with the Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission, the Ohio Board of Regents, legislators and more, and it’s “beginning to pay off,” said Lima Mayor David Berger at the task force’s monthly meeting on Monday.
Officials discuss the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center at a Task Force L.I.M.A. meeting on Monday. (Danae King/The Lima News)
Berger, also the co-chair of the task force dedicated to keeping the government-owned, contractor-operated tank and military vehicle production facility open, said there are a few recent developments that show the task force’s efforts to keep jobs at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center are working.
“I think it’s really important that we now have a partner in the state of Ohio, which is a new dynamic,” Berger said, referring to the task force’s work with the Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission.
Berger and other local officials visited Columbus last week to speak with the OFMJC about little mention of JSMC in its draft report, released in April, and were assured that the initial report isn’t indicative of the final focus, Berger said.
Jeff Sprague, who also attended the meeting in Columbus with OFMJC, proposed that the task force nominate a representative to serve on the commission when the current members’ terms are up, which is believed to be in the fall. Denny Glenn, who now works with the Allen County commissioners, volunteered and will be nominated. He was nominated last year and wasn’t accepted on to the commission, he said.
Sprague, with Allen Economic Development Group, also recommended that the task force introduce legislation about the nature of JSMC and its specific status, as it is not a depot or an arsenal. It may potentially be classified as an industrial facility.
Work on phase one of a grant the Allen County commissioners received from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment recently concluded, with the formation of an action plan, and officials are working on phase two of the JSMC-focused grant.
“I think these are several long plays that we’re engaged in, but I think they’re important [because they] recognize the long-term needs of the facility,” Berger said.
Also announced at the meeting was an upcoming visit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Energy Savings Performance Contracting Program.
On July 21 and 22, it will visit the JSMC to see if it can help it save money in the future, said Lt. Col. Matthew Hodge, commander of the JSMC.
“I am sure they can come up with some private funding for us,” Hodge said. “Renewable energy sources is a topic we asked them to puruse as well.”
A long-anticipated production slow-down will soon begin at the plant, Berger said, though it is anticipated to speed back up again next year, at least modestly.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.