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May 18, 2021

Handling Rejection:
Harley News Updates
Harley Rejects Shelby County

(The Shelbyville News)

Harley-Davidson officials have ruled out Shelby County as a site for a new plant, despite numerous efforts by county officials in recent months to lure the company here.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker said late Wednesday night it is considering only one location, Shelbyville, Ky., for a possible relocation of its main assembly plant in York, Pa., which employs about 2,000 manufacturing workers. A site near Interstate 74 in Pleasant View and another site in Murfreesboro, Tenn., have been eliminated from contention.

Harley-Davidson spokesman Bob Klein told the York Daily Record the company is still considering the possibility of keeping its main plant operational in York. Klein told the newspaper the selection of Kentucky came from various factors, from site selection to available workers, and that he could not get into the pros and cons about the choice.

Dan Theobald, executive director of the Shelby County Development Corp., said Harley's site locator notified him via e-mail late Wednesday afternoon that Shelby County was out of the running. "They didn't announce anything, but it looks like Pennsylvania is the No. 1 site," Theobald said. "The back-up site is going to be Kentucky."

Theobald, who said he was extremely disappointed in the decision, said he would talk with state officials this morning to have a debriefing on efforts to lure Harley to the county and Indiana. "I don't believe there is anything they can do at this time, but I think we should have a discussion on it, on what was right and what was wrong," Theobald said. "These don't come around very often. We did everything we could do."

One silver lining, Theobald said, was all the attention Shelby County received as a result of being one of the three finalists for a possible relocation of the York plant. Stories about the Hogstakes, mentioning Shelby County, appeared in newspapers as far away as The London Times, Theobald said. "We have got a tremendous amount of attention out of this, not only nationwide, but in other countries," he said. "We could have never afforded the type of advertising we got from this. Everybody knew what we were doing, everybody knew we were in the running."

Theobald said he was impressed with the efforts of county officials to court Harley. In recent weeks, county leaders have created a redevelopment commission, authorized wastewater treatment negotiations with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works for three northwestern Shelby County townships, and proposed rezoning land at 12100 E. McGregor Road to accommodate a possible Harley plant southwest of Interstate 74 in Pleasant View.

Tony Newton, president of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, said Wednesday night that he, too, was disappointed. "I just found out about it late (Wednesday) evening," Newton said. "I really haven't had a chance to talk to anybody. It's disappointing. I know the county has done an awful lot to try and put a package together to get them here."

(Article by Jeff Tucker, staff writer - The Shelbyville News

Originally Published Nov. 5, 2009 - Content Copyright © 2009 - The Shelbyville News)

Harley-Davidson: Kentucky or York

And then there were two.

Harley-Davidson said late Wednesday evening it will either move to Kentucky or stay put in Pennsylvania when the company ultimately decides the fate of the York vehicle operations later this year. Harley said in May it was considering moving its York County facilities elsewhere because they are not cost-effective, citing work rules and the overall structure of the facilities, some of which date back decades.

Subsequently, the company named sites in Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky as possible relocation sites. It then quickly eliminated Kansas City, Mo., where it already makes motorcycles. Wednesday's announcement eliminates Shelbyville, Ind., and Murfreesboro, Tenn., as well.

About 2,000 manufacturing workers, who would lose their jobs in Springettsbury Township if the company leaves, and the York community await that final decision.

Harley-Davidson spokesman Bob Klein said Wednesday the Kentucky choice came from various factors, from site selection to available workers. He said he could not get into details about the choice, including pros and cons, at this time. According to the released statements, Harley executives met with officials in Kentucky this week to discuss further plans. Klein said that both this week and during the past months, Harley has met with officials from the state's governor's office as well as legislators and local officials.

But Klein also reiterated the preferred choice remains to stay in York.

Negotiations between Harley and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 175 continue in York as another step toward keeping the plants in York County.

Tom Santone, directing business representative for the the union's District 98, said he had heard Wednesday night about the company's alternative site choice. He said he is not surprised the company has narrowed its choice, considering the weeks of study and talks about the alternative sites. The alternative sites were unveiled in August.

Santone said the union is continuing to work on a new contract.

A person who answered the phone at the Shelby County Industrial Foundation, an economic development group in the area Harley is looking, said no one was immediately available to comment on the development. Efforts Wednesday evening to reach officials in Indiana and Tennessee were also unsuccessful.

According to The Sentinel-News, the local newspaper in Shelby County, Kentucky, authorities there have been talking lately about Harley - or some large business - possibly moving into town. The president of a local college system, Michael McCall, of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, recently pointed to Harley as a reason to maintain strong education infrastructure, according to the newspaper.

He also encouraged people to rally to make sure the college system received adequate funding. McCall is quoted as saying that the college system would strive to provide low-cost training to workers if and when Harley moves to the area.

Earlier, the newspaper reported the Shelby County Fiscal Court voted in favor of a zoning change to a large piece of property nearby from agricultural to industrial. Officials said there was a prospect in mind when they made the change, although they did not directly name the prospect.

(Content Copyright York Daily News 11/4/09)

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009
Article comment by: No Hogs For This Town

It is Dee Bonners fault - That's an interesting thought. There ya go, They can blame Dee for everything right down to the cost of the tee-shirts that were printed for the Bears of Blue River Parade.
Dee watch your back! The powers that be just might go to your Editor, Publisher, and the Owners of the paper. Oh wait - never mind that won't work now that no one can tell you what to do, will it? Keep up the good work Dee!

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009
Article comment by: One Hung-Lo

In a way, I'm a bit surprised they didn't pick Shelbyville/county for the hog factory.

When a business knows it can have its infrastructure paid for receive tax abatements for the next 500 years pay its workers poverty wages and benefits hold the city/county hostage if it wants something new - well, I would think that would be attractive to the kind of ethics-deficient businesses that are so prevalent now.

Another thought: Dee, I am wondering when our own Great Exalted Wizard of Odd will blame you for the plant not coming here?

All of these horrible CAVE people!

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2009
Article comment by: Inquiring Mind

Interesting the way Shelby County KY handled the situation, by not "letting the hog outta the bag", so to speak. This could save a lot of embarassment to local and State officials. Of course, that is, providing you don't have said elected officials who are afflicted with "little man's syndrome" demanding to negotiate with a higher power.
Although, this seems all to familiar. Call it deja vu, but didn't Shelbyville/Shelby County go through this before? Let's see here...a local factory demanding more tax breaks and God only knows what else. The aforementioned factory announces their quest to move to another State, only to get exactly what they wanted in the first palce, when they really had NO INTENTION OF EVER LEAVING! Hmmmmm. Nah, we would NEVER fall for those tricks, especially twice!

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