General Motors announced plans on April 27 to add a manufacturing line at a southern Indiana factory in a $111 million project that is expected to add 245 jobs in the coming years.
Workers at the Bedford factory and area residents were worried a year ago that the plant would close amid GM's restructuring. The factory, which once had more than 1,200 workers, is one of the world's largest aluminum die-casting facilities and now has some 370 employees.
The Bedford plant is part of an $890 million investment GM is making at five factories to make more fuel-efficient V-8 engines and preserve or create roughly 1,600 jobs.
Mayor Shawna Girgis said GM's decision was especially welcome in a city that saw a 600-worker Visteon Corp. auto parts plant close two years ago.
"With other losses in the community, I think to have lost this facility would have been absolutely devastating," she said.
GM's restructuring plan announced last year included closing its Indianapolis metal-stamping plant, while keeping open Indiana plants in Bedford, Fort Wayne and Marion.
Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who is from Bedford, said GM's expansion at the plant was a sign of confidence in its work force and community.
The new jobs are expected to be added by 2013, with many of them expected to be filled by idled GM workers from other factories.
"I personally have another 15, 20 years before I can look at retirement," worker Curtis Jewell said. "Anything that we can do for the community to try to provide not only these jobs but creates cash flows to other businesses -- it's a plus for everybody."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.