County Road 334 leads to Doyle Equipment Manufacturing

Marion County’s efforts to assist Doyle Equipment Manufacturing in Palmyra with an upgrade of a short section of County Road 334 will apparently happen without the benefit of grant dollars.

According to Lyndon Bode, presiding commissioner, what the county could do to help improve a 500-foot section of the county road came into focus during a recent meeting between company and county officials.

“During this past week Wayne Gallaher with Doyle and Mike Schaefer, our highway director, met out at the road and talked about what the county crews could do and if that would meet their needs out there,” he said, during the Monday, Feb. 26, county commission meeting at the courthouse in Palmyra.

Schaefer explained the nature of the work that will occur.

“What we need to do is get it prepared (for black topping) this spring or summer and maybe spray it for dust control. Then we can come back and put blacktop on it,” he said.

Bode said the decision to not seek the grant was based on multiple factors. One is the timeframe with which Doyle wants to proceed with its planned expansion that will include the construction of a 63-foot by 350-foot addition and the creation of 15 to 20 new jobs.

“They’re looking at expanding and hopefully having it in operation by the middle of this summer,” said Bode. “They’re wanting to move dirt and we learned last week that a part of the grant’s guidelines is that no construction can occur until the grant is approved. That definitely would have slowed them down.”

“We could have had it (expansion) built before we got the (grant) application,” said Gallaher, during the Feb. 20 meeting of the county commission in Palmyra.

Bode added that the time necessary for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for industrial infrastructure application to make it through the approval process was another consideration.

“Anytime you apply for a grant you have to calculate in the time factor, especially if it is a federal grant. There’s paperwork and different studies that would have to be involved,” he said.

Doyle’s interest in pursuing the grant lessened because funds from a CDBG grant can only be used on a public roadway.

“We learned last week that the private drive (Jack Doyle Industrial Drive), which is a majority of the project, couldn’t go through the grant process,” said Bode.

During last week’s commission meeting it was reported the estimated cost was $200,000 to improve the 500-foot section of the county road that links with Jack Doyle Industrial Drive.

“The cost will be nothing in that range,” promised Bode. “If we had gotten the grant there would have been a (local) match and what we’ll be doing right now will be less than that match.”

It was reported last week that the county’s share would have been 15 percent of the project’s cost, or $30,000.

“It will be more of a minimal cost,” said Bode. “We’re fortunate it’s only 500 feet instead of a mile or something like that.”

What the county is prepared to do on County Road 334 in behalf of Doyle is not unprecedented, according to Bode.

“This is nothing different than we have already done for several other industries here in the county,” he said, citing the county pavement it maintains that leads to Knapheide Manufacturing in the West Quincy area. “We’re just doing what we feel is needed and what will help the county grow. We want to keep Doyle Manufacturing growing. They are even looking at more expansions.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com