Anderson mayor to fly to Italy, Japan to meet with company executives

(WISH Photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — Anderson mayor Tom Broderick is flying overseas twice this spring to revive the city’s economy.

He’s headed to Italy next week and Japan in May with the goal of convincing foreign businesses to invest in Anderson. Broderick’s set up a list of meetings with companies, including at least three Italian companies considering investments in Anderson.

“Part of it’s a courtesy, part of it’s cultural, but it’s important for them to know that we really care. We’re really interested and it comes from the very top,” Broderick said.

It’s been nearly two years since Japanese bearings maker NTN announced plans to bring hundreds of jobs to Anderson. Last month, the company announced an expansion in the city.

Broderick said he also plans to meet with NTN and other foreign companies who’ve invested in Anderson to discuss potential expansions.

The mayor said foreign companies are interested in a couple things Anderson already has: a central location in the U.S. and hard workers.

“A lot of the folks that live here that are in the workforce have a lot of pride in what they do and pride in who they work for,” Broderick said.

The city is still recovering from General Motors’ decision to close its Anderson plant. Census data shows Anderson’s population stood near 70,000 in 1970 and has since dropped below 60,000.

The local autoworkers union once represented thousands of GM employees. The plant hired Jim King, a now-retired union representative, as an electrician in 1973.

“You could refer to it as a booming place,” King said. “There was plenty to do. You wouldn’t even have to leave town to see the latest movies. Any kind of shopping you want to do, it was all here,” King continued.

Broderick said he’ll be joined by other local economic leaders on the trips. He estimates the two trips will cost more than $32,000.

The funding, the mayor said, comes from the Madison County Corporation for Economic Development, which is not a city entity. However, the city gives about $150,000 in tax money to the CED each year, according to the mayor.

Ricky Taylor is an Anderson local who is rooting for the mayor on his trips. Taylor’s been looking for work for six months, and he’d like to see Anderson make a comeback.

“We just really need to get back to that so people can take care of their families and start paying bills and really start living again,” Taylor said.

Taylor doesn’t work for NTN, but he wore an NTN hat through downtown Anderson Thursday. He said he’s a fan of any company that invests in his city.

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