A special Burns Harbor Town Council meeting Friday resulted in Praxair being
granted a 50% tax abatement for a term of five years on an estimated $8.6
million in new manufacturing equipment.
Being installed is new technology that's intended to help the 36-year-old
local plant, and other Praxair plants in the future, to run more
The company specializes in the development and distribution of atmospheric
process and speciality gases.
The new equipment being installed in Burns Harbor was described as two
pre-purification vessels designed to remove moisture, carbon dioxide and
other contaminants from the air to prevent them from freezing out during the
air separation and liquefaction process used at the plant.
It supplies oxygen, nitrogen and argon to customers along its proprietary
pipeline in Northwest Indiana and to merchant customers by truck throughout
the Midwestern United States, according to the company.
A council resolution, adopted on a 3-0 vote with members Toni Biancardi and
Louis Bain absent, confirmed the designation of the approximately 25-acre
Burns Harbor plant as an economic revitalization area; Praxair has no tax
abatements in place at the current time.
The council also determined the current project will increase the plant's
long-term assessed valuation, help retain the 13 full-time existing jobs
there and also create temporary skilled-trades jobs during the construction
According to the company, the original construction of the Burns Harbor
facility was completed in the mid-1970s. Since 1980 the company has invested
over $75 million in new equipment there.
Responding to a question from Councilman Mike Perrine, Praxair area
operations manager Dennis Maxwell said the five-year tax abatement is for
the $8.6 million equipment being installed at this time for this project
only and not a blanket abatement for any equipment installed over the next
At one point the technical tax discussion turned to a lighter note.
Councilman Cliff Fleming said Praxair's three air separation towers are
known by motorists traveling past them on Interstate 94 as the "one-hour
towers" because that's approximately how long it takes to reach Chicago from
the Burns Harbor landmarks.
Council president Jim McGee asked why only two of the three towers, each
approximately 240 feet tall, have lighted Christmas trees atop them for the
Maxwell said the third tower doesn't have an elevator so the lights would
have to be hauled up by climbers with ropes, however, when equipment is on
site for the current modernization the lights that form the Christmas trees
could be put up then, he speculated.
Tonight the Burns Harbor Advisory Plan Commission meets at 7 p.m. at the
town hall, 1240 N. Boo Road.
No hearings are planned but the commission will discuss the status of
infrastructure improvements at Parkview Estates subdivision on Haglund Road
as well as review the temporary sign ordinance. Last month building
commissioner Bill Arney suggested the review after questions and complaints
arose under the new zoning ordinance.
In April the Plan Commission also suggested the Town Council consider taking
action to enforce the zoning regulations concerning outside storage at two
specific locations, one already under litigation and the other supposed to
be operating under conditions imposed by the town Board of Zoning Appeals.
Friday the council met in closed executive session prior to the Praxair
meeting for the purpose of discussing litigation strategy.