Mueller to build new foundry in Decatur, IL

DECATUR — Construction is scheduled to start in September on a Mueller Water Products foundry that company and community leaders described as state-of-the-art, with a sizable economic impact.

Up to 250 employees would work at the facility planned for a 30-acre site in the 2700 block of North Jasper Street, officials said. Those would be part of the company’s roughly 600-person workforce already in Decatur, where there is an existing foundry on Garfield Avenue and a manufacturing facility on Eldorado Street.

“It is, of course, a great day in Decatur,” Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said during a news conference for community leaders to discuss the project.

“This is a very competitive process. Mueller took a long, hard look at Decatur. Despite the legacy, business is business,” she said. “They want to be in a community where they can thrive and grow, so we’re very excited about the announcement today and how much it secures those jobs for this community for years to come.”

The company’s foundry in the city makes water and gas transmission products, which are then shipped to other manufacturing facilities, including one in Decatur, for final fabrication.

The project is in the design phase, and a total estimated construction amount has not been finalized, said Ryan McCrady, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County.

McCrady said the current foundry will cease to operate after the new facility is constructed. It was unclear what the future of the facility would have been if the new foundry had been located elsewhere.

McCrady praised the community’s strong workforce and leadership from city, state and Ameren Illinois leaders who helped make the project happen. Talks about the project have been ongoing for years, he said.

“It’s a big deal,” said John Thompson, president of the United Steelworkers Local 7-838, which represents Mueller employees. “They’re making a huge investment in Decatur and we’re excited about this.”

Thompson said discussions about the project had been ongoing for quite some time. While rumors have circulated over the years that the company might move its operation away from Decatur, he agrees with McCrady that the existing employees played a big part in building the foundry here.