Crash test dummy factory expanding

HURON A bunch of dummies are moving to Huron. Huron City Council has approved legisla
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



A bunch of dummies are moving to Huron.

Huron City Council has approved legislation to sell 8.37 acres in its corporate park to a company that

manufactures crash test dummies.

Denton ATD operates out of a facility in Milan Township. But with business booming it has outgrown its factory, prompting the move to Huron.

The company plans to build a 40,000-square-foot factory and an attached 9,750-square-foot office in the city’s corporate park located off Rye Beach Road near Ohio 2. Work on the project is expected to start later this year with the opening slated for spring 2009.

The deal is expected to be finalized Oct. 1, Huron city manager Andy White said.

“We were pretty much landlocked in our current location,” Denton ATD controller Tad Windau said. “We looked to stay and add on and looked at some other locations, but Huron was very aggressive and we decided to move there.”

The city agreed to sell the property for $15,000 an acre. In exchange Denton ATD will apply for a 100 percent property tax abatement for 15 years. As part of the abatement, Denton will pay Huron Schools 25 percent of the abated tax amount on a yearly basis.

 Denton ATD can apply for the abatement because its planned facility is being built in a Community

Reinvestment Area.

Denton ATD will relocate 75 employees to the Huron facility, Windau said. The company carries a $4 million annual payroll and Huron will collect $40,000 a year in income tax, White said.

The effort to woo Denton ATD to Huron was a collaborative effort between the city, the county commissioners, Erie Regional Planning Commission, the non-profit Erie County Economic Development Corp., and BGSU Firelands.

“Hopefully this becomes the blueprint for development in this area,” White said.

The city was approached by an entity representing Denton ATD in April about land in the corporate park. From there the deal quickly unfolded.

“Within a matter of days we were meeting with Denton local officials,” White said.

Denton ATD’s corporate headquarters are in Rochester Heights, Mich., and the company could have moved out of Erie County or out of the state.

As part of the deal, the city agreed to pay for the move of existing storm sewer to a different location so Denton ATD can build its facility, White said. Erie County Regional Planning applied for a grant that will pay the $23,000 price tag for the storm sewer move.

“It’s a positive sign for our economic development,” Huron council president Marilyn Shearer said. “The city will see an increase in income in the form of income taxes. It’s a very positive thing for the city.”

Denton ATD employed 29 in 2000 and that number has grown to 75. The company manufactures more than 30 models of crash test dummies in a variety of shapes and sizes. It produces about 150 full dummies a year.  

The dummies are not cheap. The bodies can cost up to $30,000, and that price triples when you add in the sensors to calculate the impact of a crash.