Forest River to expand in Butler

Forest River Manufacturing LLC will expand its Butler operations at 685 E. Main St. (U.S. 6). The project includes a 63,000-square-foot building at the east side of the property, while expanding an existing building on the west side by 12,000 square feet. The company produces XLR toy haulers in Butler.

BUTLER — A Butler recreational vehicle manufacturer received approval to expand its operations July 27.

Forest River Manufacturing LLC, 685 E. Main St., will build a 63,000-square-foot building and expand another building by 12,000 square feet, company representatives told the Butler Plan Commission.

The Elkhart-based company manufactures recreational XLR toy haulers at its Butler facility, established in 2017, using existing buildings on the former Evans Equipment truck terminal property.

Forest River shipped its first recreational vehicle made at the Butler facility in December 2017. The property covers about 20 acres at the east edge of the city.

The new building will be immediately behind the existing office building, with a proposed employee parking area facing Main Street (U.S. 6). The addition will be made to another large building in a triangular corner bordered by the highway and the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

The company plans to do the expansion first, followed by construction of the new building, said Forest River representative Mike Stump.

Forest River is ready to start the expansion as soon as it receives site drainage approval from the DeKalb County Surveyor’s Office and final site infrastructure approval from the Butler Board of Works and Public Safety.

Construction is expected to begin in August, with a goal to complete the expansion and new building by the end of 2020, said site consultant Joe Gabet.

The expansion will not require additional utilities, infrastructure or a new entrance/exit.

In a project review by department heads, the Butler Fire Department requested raising the height of an existing fire hydrant on the property and adding a second hydrant. Building doors will be labeled for emergency responders.

Wastewater Superintendent Brian Moore told the Plan Commission the city and Forest River are collaborating on an easement agreement for wastewater treatment plant expansion purposes.

The easement would be located away from the buildings so as to not interfere with manufacturing operations. Moore anticipated that would take place after the company completes construction.

“We’re very pleased with the quality of labor,” Stump told the Plan Commission. “We plan on doing great things here.”

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