Short EDC Report Long on News

Applications for COVID-19 business relief are still being accepted. A tower-ful local building is on the market again. A powerful marketing tool is one step closer to groundbreaking.

That trio of headlines came from New Castle-Henry County Economic Development President Corey Murphy at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The short report was long on opportunity knocking for the local economy. Here’s a recap.

COVID-19 relief

Murphy provided an update on distribution of a $250,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs awarded to the city earlier this year.

The best news? “We’re still accepting applications,” Murphy said.

Applications are available online at www.growinhenry.com.

“The application is really, really short,” Murphy said. “It takes no more than 10 minutes to fill out the application. Then our committee reviews it. More than likely, they move it on to low and moderate income verification, which Penny (York) takes care of. That is a combination interview with employees.”

The local EDC is managing and marketing the program. To date, Murphy reported:

  • 8 applications have been submitted for final approval;
  • Total grant amount of $75,000 will be spread across those eight businesses;
  • The number of full-time equivalent employees affected so far is 53; and
  • The low-to-moderate income percentage of employees affected was 57.6 percent.

Murphy said the first batch of approved applications was sent to the state on June 29.

“No one has received the money yet. We’re still working our way through the Jumanji levels,” Murphy said, referencing the hit movie where characters are faced with several challenges before advancing to the next level.

Once the city receives the money from the state, it will transfer the funds to the EDC, which in turn will distribute it to the eight businesses.

“I want to thank our volunteer loan committee,” Murphy said. “They’ve done a lot of heavy lifting in terms of reviewing the business applications. And then our team at the EDC. Kelli Wasson keeps us organized. Penny takes care of all the low-to-moderate income verification. She’s probably met with over 200 people.”

Snake river trailers

COVID-19 has gotten in the way of a new manufacturer coming to New Castle.

Snake River Trailers, an Idaho-based company, had planned to make a $1 million investment into a facility at 900 New York Ave. in New Castle, over and above the purchase price. But the economic impact of the pandemic has landed those plans on the shelf.

So the mammoth building with ample ceiling height for cranes and other equipment is back on the market again.

“So we have it in our inventory,” Murphy said. “You’ve heard me say many times it’s a beautiful building. I don’t think the building will last very long (on the market).”

Shell building

The paper trail leading to a new shell building appears to be growing strong.

“In partnership with the county RDC, we’re moving forward with the construction of another shell building,” Murphy said. “Today, the County Redevelopment Commission awarded a build-operate-transfer agreement with Runnebohm Construction, contingent on financing. So that is our last hurdle. The feedback we receive from Baker-Tilly and others on financing is we should be able to do it.”

Murphy said a groundbreaking target date of Oct. 15 is the goal.

“Although this is not located in your city limits, it is connected to city water and sewer and certainly, it’s one workforce. It is the best marketing strategy that we can have. I’m pleased we’re moving forward in that direction.”

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

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