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May 18, 2021

Is There A Harley in Shelby County's Future?
Harley-Davidson, the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer, is reported to be visiting sites for a new motorcycle assembly plant that would create a minimum of 1,000 jobs.

The manufacturer is considering closing or relocating some of its operations out of a production complex in York, Pennsylvania. The York Daily Record (York, Pennsylvania) reported the company has looked at sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and two other unidentified midwestern states.

An unidentified Indiana businessman said Harley-Davidson has an interest in Indiana locations, including a Shelby County site northwest of Shelbyville near I-74.

An article from the York, Pennsylvania Daily Record follows. Also see several related stories about Harley-Davidson's union woes and Pennsylvania's efforts to keep the manufacturer from moving out of state Here

Harley-Davidson touring possible alternative sites

(York Daily Record 8/19/09)

Harley-Davidson is making visits this week to areas where it might relocate its York County vehicle operations, with the first two visits completed in Shelbyville, Ky., and Murfreesboro, Tenn. Spokesman Bob Klein said Tuesday night that two other visits to alternative locations were also planned. Klein declined to name those locations.

Murfreesboro, a community just southeast of Nashville, Tenn., is a city of about 100,000 people, the sixth-largest in the state, according to the city's economic development Web site.

According to the site, Murfreesboro is in Rutherford County, where the largest employer is listed as Nissan Motor Manufacturing. The operations employ about 6,200.

Shelbyville, Ky., is a smaller town in between Lexington and Louisville in Shelby County. Shelby County's proximity to Interstate 65 and Interstate 64 and its large swaths of available land, complete with utilities, have helped attract major companies to the area, said Marshall Long, a retired Kentucky state senator and vice president of the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation.

Within the past two decades, large corporations such as Ledco Inc., a manufacturer of interior doors, have opened operations in Shelby County, he said. "We have an excellent road system in this part of the state," Long said.

Long said he would not comment specifically about Harley-Davidson.

"We have a lot companies that look at this area, but that doesn't mean that they will locate there," he said.

Klein said the visits are part of a two-path study in place, with one analyzing how to make the York County operations cost-effective where they are now, and another analyzing the best possible relocation opportunities.

Through the process, the four sites being visited this week came up for a number of reasons, but Klein did not get into specifics.

Harley-Davidson told employees at its Springettsbury Township plant in May that it was considering moving the operations, which would affect more than 2,000 production workers.

Primary reasons that have emerged include inefficiencies at the site in both work rules and infrastructure. The company said it plans to make a decision by the end of the year.

Klein reiterated Tuesday night that staying in York remains the preferred option. The visits come as Pennsylvania officials continue to look for ways to keep Harley in York County.

Theresa Elliott, spokeswoman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, said earlier in the day that the state continues to stay in contact with Harley and continues to craft a possible incentives package. The package already is expected to contain about $15 million in capital money, Gov. Ed Rendell said earlier this month at a rally in York in support of the local plant.

The local community would stand to lose millions if Harley pulled out of its Springettsbury Township operations, where it makes Touring motorcycles in older facilities and Softail motorcycles in a new plant that is not yet 10 years old.

A recent assessment released by the York Adams Tax Bureau reported that, just in local earned income taxes, the operations generated about $2 million in revenue for municipalities and school districts last year.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2009
Article comment by: Caveman II

Yeah, Cave Dweller, I agree. This is probably like the kid on the playground who owns the basketball. The other kids want to play full-court instead of half-court and he says, "Okay, if you don't play it my way I'll take my ball and go home."

There are no real signs that the recession/depression is going to be over soon and motorcycles aren't selling now any better than new SUVs. Why would they want to build a fancy new facility somewhere when their business is down and shows no signs of improving.

I imagine this will turn out "much ado about nothing" as far as Shelby County is concerned.

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2009
Article comment by: Mr. Cave Dwelller

I think Harley is playing York just like Knuaf does Shelbyville when they aren't getting their way. Scare city officals and scare the union workers - Throw a big temper tantrum until they get what they want. I would be the first to welcome them to Shelbyville but I have a feeling that we are just one of the "pawns" in this game that Harley is playing.
Besides if they do relocate here - What did our brilliant city officals promise them? And did they give away all of our racino money just so they'd move to town? Sometimes things really cost more than they are worth!

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