CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) - The city of Connersville is courting an automaker and the morethan 1,300 jobs that come with it. The city is located east ofIndianapolis in Fayette County and is one of the finalists for aCarbon Motors plant.
Carbon Motors is trying to decide between Connersville and fiveother cities as it looks for a place to manufacture a patrol carcalled the E-7. Connersville rolled out the red carpet for CarbonMotors’ executives Tuesday night. The town has more than15,000 people and most of them turned out to sell the city.
Connersville thinks it has just what Carbon Motors is lookingfor. Namely, it has the old Visteon plant. The plant shut down in2007 and at one time, it employed 3,000 people.
"It was the lifeblood and it was the mainstream of this area fora long, long time," said Connersville resident Frank Handy.
Hundreds of people packed the former Visteon plant inConnersville Tuesday night to welcome executives from CarbonMotors.
"To see how this community pulls together is just overwhelming.It's a blessing," said Assistant Chief Dennis Perkins of theConnersville Police Department.
The community hopes they can convince Carbon Motors to chooseConnersville over other locations such as Braselton, Georgia,Plymouth, Michigan, Charlotte, North Carolina and Greenville andSpartanburg, South Carolina.
"It would be a tremendous boost to our economy and our spirits,"said Connersville Mayor Leonard Urban.
Carbon Motors Chairman and CEO William Santana Li seemedimpressed by the turnout.
"This is the type of collaboration that reflects very favorablyon the community and, frankly, the prospects for Connersville,"said Li.
Carbon Motors is looking for a city and a facility in which tomanufacture the E-7. Company executives unveiled the car to muchfan fare.
"What we've developed here is the world's first purpose lawenforcement patrol vehicle from the ground up, bumper-to-bumperjust for law enforcement operation," said Li.
Tony Cartwright owns a Connersville restaurant called Kunkel's.He knows his restaurant would have even more cars in his parkinglot if the old Visteon plant got a new lease on life.
"This community needs jobs. And I think you've noticed if youdrive around Connersville there's a lot of empty houses andbusinesses starting to close. So it is affecting the community alot," said Cartwright.
Former Visteon employees would love to see a rebirth of theirold workplace.
"Oh, I'm thrilled," said Judy Houston, who worked at the Visteonplant 23 years. "I think it would be a wonderful opportunity forConnersville and it would just help the community grow."
"The people that are still within the working age, I think theydeserve it," said longtime resident Frank Handy. "They'rehard-working people. It's a good community and if anybody deservesit, we do."
Representatives from the offices of Senator Evan Bayh andCongressman Mike Pence are also in Connersville trying to help sellCarbon Motors on choosing the location.
Carbon Motors executives expect to make a decision in about amonth.
Police dispatchers in Hancock County say two medical helicopters were called to the scene of a crash late Wednesday night.
SWAT members were called to the city's northwest side Wednesday night.
In the wake of tornadoes that ravaged towns like Kokomo, Hoosiers now have another concern.