COLUMBUS – City economic development funds are helping give Brent Ogle and Kirk Diers of Blazer Manufacturing Co. an opportunity to check off one of the boxes on their bucket lists.
Columbus City Council approved the co-owners of Blazer, located at 5109 26th St., for a $150,000 low-interest loan from funds that local officials have used for business development.
The money, often referred to as LB 840 funds, authorized communities to spend sales tax revenue on economic development, but earmarked primarily for hard purchases such as land, building and equipment purchases.
Columbus City Council also voted earlier this year to add workforce housing to the list of projects eligible for economic development money.
Ogle and Diers will use the loan funds, about one-third of the overall cost of the project this summer, for the purchase of press brakes, which allow the business to press long sheets of steel and fabricate them into the storage tanks.
“The loan will be for part of our overall expansion kicking off in May,” Ogle said.
That’s about the time the longtime manufacturer of track and other athletic equipment begins heating up for its other primary business, above-ground storage tanks.
“That’s about 40 percent of our business,” said Ogle, adding track and athletic equipment production remains the bulk of the manufacturer’s operations.
The overall expansion, estimated at about $450,000, also calls for adding a storage building that will free up existing plant space for a new paint booth and doubles welding and fabricating space.
“We’re running at capacity right now,” Ogle said. “We’re not able to take on new business as quickly as we’d like to grown. This loan will help (our operations) become faster, safer and with less wear and tear on people.”