‘It’s all about readiness’

Duke Energy has selected a 143-acre site in Henry County as one of six around in the state in the company’s 2018 Site Readiness Program.

The property, at the corner of County Road 300 S and Ind. 103, is owned by local company Hissaydar Investments LLC, New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President and CEO Corey Murphy said.

The Henry County Commissioners and Planning Commission recently approved a request from Hissaydar to rezone the land from rural residential to light industrial.

The Duke Energy Site Readiness Program identifies, evaluates and improves sites in the company’s service territory for potential industrial development.

“There isn’t a potential purchaser for this site,” Murphy said. “This is a ‘mock’ or ‘practice’ site selection process … It’s all about readiness.”

Murphy explained that Duke treats the process like a real business-site selection. A national site-consulting firm issued a request for information about the area and is planning an on-site visit around the middle of June.

After seeing what Henry County has to offer potential investors, the site selection company will send recommendations back to the EDC on how to give the county a competitive edge when courting new businesses, Murphy said.

Those recommendations could include road improvements, easements and rights-of-way that would be required to develop the site as well as steps necessary to mitigate any potential environmental impacts. Banning Engineering will produce final drawings and conceptual site plans.

“We are thrilled to go through this process,” Murphy said.

Murphy expects to have the final recommendations by the end of the summer, which he will then present to the EDC.

Duke Energy will present a $10,000 check to help implement the recommendations after local officials see the consultant’s final recommendations later this year.

“Economic development and job growth are important factors in building successful and sustainable communities,” said Erin Schneider, director of economic development for Duke Energy Indiana. “We recognize our obligation to help local areas become prosperous and more secure to support long-term growth.”

Murphy thanked Duke Energy and the land owners for giving Henry County the chance to participate in the site readiness program.

“We are excited to engage in this process and receive the recommendations,” Murphy said. “Site readiness helps us compete for new jobs and investment.”

Murphy said this process will also give Henry County the chance to build a professional relationship with the site selection company. That could potentially turn into more development opportunities in the future.

For information about Duke Energy Indiana’s economic development programs, visit www.locationindiana.com.

Source: The Courier Times, May 25, 2018

– Story by Travis Weik of The Courier-Times (May 25, 2018). Read more local stories at www.thecouriertimes.com

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