The Clinton City Council has approved re-zoning the area around a vacant downtown building that will be converted into a warehouse. John Balkema, president of United Machine North America, described his company’s plans during a recent Clinton City Council meeting.

“We hope to take the old building and turn it into a showplace for the city and also our customers like John Deere and Caterpillar,” he said.

The warehouse will be a distribution hub for parts, but Balkema said the company hopes to eventually convert some of the space in Clinton into a machine shop, making drive shafts, “n the excavators, the dozers, the loaders.”

The company expects to hire 15 employees initially, with as many as 150 employed at the site once the project’s metal fabrication operation is functional.

(Reporting by Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton)