EDC director’s 3 wishes granted by Commissioners

New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. President Corey Murphy was a man on three monumental missions Wednesday night.

Murphy brought three requests to the County Commissioners at their January meeting. Each could be described as a beacon of hope for Henry County.

No impediments for home rehabilitation

Murphy requested and received approval of an Indiana Department of Natural Resources letter that clears the way for a “stellar” dream to become a shining reality for single-family, owner-occupied homeowners who need help with their homes.

Murphy said the letter confirms an in-depth analysis found “there are no historic buildings, structures, buildings, districts, objects or archaeological resources within the construction areas that would be affected” in Henry County as part of the new Owner-Occupied Home program.

That means a green light for $333,000 in Stellar Communities money to be used to improve qualifying homes across the county.

The Owner-Occupied Home program will offer up to $15,000 to: upgrade electrical systems; repair heating, cooling and plumbing; make roof, window and door repairs; and take care of lead paint hazards.

The grants will also help people modify their homes by installing ramps, upgrade bathrooms and kitchens, widen doors for wheelchairs and improve lighting.

Murphy explained the National Historic Preservation Act required the DNR analysis.

More help on the way for business

Commissioners also granted Murphy permission to work with their newly appointed attorney Martin Shields and the firm ARa in a procurement process necessary for the county to be considered in its quest for another Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant that could bring an additional $250,000 here to help local businesses struggling through the pandemic.

Murphy’s office supervised distribution of a $250,000 OCRA grant awarded to the City of New Castle that helped numerous businesses. He told Commissioners the hope is this new grant, if received, would help county businesses in the same way.

While a local match is not required, Murphy said it might be helpful in making the county’s request stand out among other applicants.

“My recommendation is we contribute as much as possible,” Murphy said. “It is a competitive process.”

Commissioners approved $6,250 toward the effort.

Boar’s Head

Commissioners also granted Murphy permission to work with Shields on the Boar’s Head expansion process.

The county council voted unanimously last month to officially start an “incentive approval process” that would offer Boar’s Head a $3.2 million tax abatement plan if the food manufacturing company chooses Henry County for its new deli processing facility.

“The county council is planning a public hearing Jan. 28,” Murphy said. “If they approve the plan, it comes to the Commissioners. I’m seeking permission to work with your attorney and for it to be on your agenda Feb. 10.”

Boar’s Head opened its first Henry County meat processing plant in April 2016. Within months, the company announced plans to build a distribution center alongside the first plant.

Since breaking ground in 2014, Boar’s Head Provisions has invested $113 million into Henry County and given more than 500 people jobs.

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

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