Encouraging words for EDC: ‘Ahead of schedule’

Three encouraging words echoed throughout the Henry County REMC Community Room recently: “Ahead of schedule.”

The words, spoken multiple times by Kim Cronk, president of the Commissioners, were music to the ears of New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. board members concerning a myriad of major projects going on throughout the area.

Cronk used those words to describe construction of the new Henry County Expo Center and the renovation of W.G. Smith Building in Memorial Park as well as the sewer construction at White Estates. His report was among items highlighting the EDC board’s monthly meeting.

Cronk added that the county is working with Knightstown to bring sewer and water to the Ind. 109/I-70 exchange. He added that two new towers, one in Knightstown and another in Middletown, should go online soon to enhance emergency radio communication efforts.

In Cronk’s view, unprecedented teamwork has made it all happen.

“I don’t think you’re going to find any place in Indiana or the United States for that matter where the city and the county cooperate and work together better than we have here,” Cronk said. “I think it’s been very, very impressive. At some of the seminars I go to, people tell me they’re amazed and can’t believe a city and county government work so well together.” Cronk also spoke highly of the Stellar process in which New Castle, Knightstown and Henry County’s combined entry is a finalist for a $22 million prize to help community projects. He said there have been 35 meetings in the last three or four months.

“I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never seen as much cooperation between the entities as we have now,” Cronk said.Here are other items of note from the September EDC meeting:

• Workforce Development – EDC President Corey Murphy reminded those present there are “a lot of workforce resources” available, including 21st Century Talent Region, the Governor’s Next Level Training Program and another program called “Skill Up.” For more information on those programs, visit the local EDC website growinhenry.com or call the EDC office at 521-7402.

• Hissaydar Investments LLC Update – Murphy updated the board on this site at 2548 N. Ind. 3, which was rezoned last April from rural residential to light industrial. “As you know, that is the only land in our inventory that is known to be for sale at a firm price,” Murphy said. “The owner has agreed to let us market it. We took it through the Duke Energy Site Readiness Program. We’re walking it through the tax increment finance process so we can have access to a financial tool to help get water and sewer there.” Murphy said the issue will be discussed further at the Oct. 9 meeting of the County Commissioners. 

• MicroNutrients – At the request of an EDC Board member, Murphy also provided an update regarding this “on hold” project in the industrial park. “We’re in negotiations with them in terms of how we allow them to continue working on their project, but allow us to market the land at the same time,” Murphy said. “As I’ve previously stated, we have the best of both worlds. If they move forward with the project, great. If not, we have an opportunity to market the site. We’re working with their attorney on how to structure that. But the fact that they didn’t want to give the property back tells me there is still an opportunity for that project.”

MicroNutrients, a company that produces additives for animal feed, originally planning to break ground in 2018 and received help from the County Redevelopment Commission.

In 2018, the EDC secured $200,000 in grant money to extend Brooks Drive in the New Castle-Henry County Industrial Park. Murphy said this road project supports the plan for MicroNutrients to build a factory in New Castle. The county transferred 25 acres to MicroNutrients but also put clawbacks into its agreement. 

“It’s 25 acres, has a nice road and if we can find another buyer, then MicroNutrients will immediately transfer the grounds,” Murphy has said.

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

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