EDC director salutes Stellar efforts

A “Stellar” sort of glow illuminated the September meeting for the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. Board of directors.

EDC President Corey Murphy took time before his regular report Sept. 12 to salute all of those in New Castle, Knightstown and Henry County who have been involved in the final push for the combined “Safe and Welcome” entry here.

He had particular praise for the leader of the bid at bringing  $22 million here in competition with three other Indiana groups to become the next Stellar Community.

“If it weren’t for Cathy Hamilton, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in,” Murphy said. “We appreciate her leadership and time in what I’ll say has been herding cats. This is a big, big undertaking.”

After applause filled the room for Cathy and County Councilman Kenon Gray, a member of the Stellar organizing committee, Murphy challenged those in the room to not let the ultimate outcome be the final word.

“Whether we are designated or not, our entire county is better for this,” Murphy said. “It will be incumbent upon us to continue the momentum, regardless of the outcome and not just set this plan on a shelf.”

While realtors says their most important three words are “location, location, location,” Murphy said his efforts to bring new businesses here also depend on three words – planning, planning, planning.

“We have to continue to plan,” Murphy stressed. “The county, the city of New Castle and Knightstown all had comprehensive plans prior to this Stellar process. We would have been DOA – dead on arrival – if we wouldn’t have invested in those plans.”

Murphy said a local housing study, a bicycle path plan and downtown strategy documents were also done prior to Stellar and helped tremendously.

“Whether we get Stellar or not, we’ve got to keep planning,” Murphy said. “The fact that we’ve done all of those plans shows there’s thoughtfulness here to what we’re doing.”

The final 185-page regional development plan was submitted on Friday, Sept. 20. Officials here are preparing for a final presentation on Nov. 14 in Indianapolis. The Stellar Community will be named Dec. 5.

– Story by Darrel Radford (DRadford@TheCourierTimes.com) of The Courier-Times. Read more local stories at www.thecouriertimes.com.

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