Henry County Food & Beverage Grant

Henry County Food & Beverage Advisory Committee  
Recommendations to the Henry County Council
March 3, 2022

As provided in state statute, the Advisory Committee volunteers were appointed by the Henry County Council, Henry County Commissioners, Town of Knightstown, Town of Middletown, New Castle City Council and New Castle Mayor.

The volunteer members and their appointing government entity are: Susan Falck Neal, Commissioner; Vacancy, Commissioner; Ron Chew, Commissioner; Landon Dean, Knightstown (Chair); Dave Wagner, Middletown; Tammy Matney, County Council (Secretary); Don Davis, County Council; Mary Nicholson, City Council; Corey Murphy, Mayor (Vice Chair)

The Committee’s first meeting was August 10, 2021 where the group elected officers and began to design the application process.  The attached application was finalized at the August 31, 2021 meeting.  The application was hosted on the EDC website (www.growinhenry.com) via Google Forms. An initial deadline was set for October 29, 2021

The deadline was extended to January 10, 2022 after learning the County Council was open to considering a Food & Beverage Bond.

32 applications were received.  Each committee member received a printed copy of the applications and supporting materials for advance review.

At the January 25, 2022 meeting in Knightstown, three applications were removed from consideration for not meeting the tourism and economic development funding objectives.  It was also agreed that the remaining projects would be invited to make presentations.

A discussion of conflict of interest also occurred at the January 25 meeting.  A conflict of interest does not exist because advisory committee members do not personally financially benefit from the projects.  Disclosure was advised and disclosure was made.  (See attached the written guidance from the County Attorney). Wagner disclosed a conflict of interest on the Middletown projects and Murphy disclosed a conflict of interest on the Destination Development project along with serving as a Board Member of the New Castle Main Street.   

Up to 10 minutes were allotted for each presentation with the committee having up to 10 minutes to ask questions.  The presentations were held at the Henry County Courthouse on February 15 and 21, 2022.  “5 after 5 Productions” (Cameron Grimm) filmed the presentations.  The videos were uploaded to a public YouTube page and made available to committee members and also to County Council members via email link on February 24, 2022. New Castle Main Street withdrew its application and did not present. 28 applications were scored. The video links are found below:

Feb 21: https://youtu.be/g7_mUN-Veis       Feb 15: https://youtu.be/dweFrxViHnM

Scoring Rubric: (shared with the presenters in advance)

The Committee used the following as a scoring guide with the first three having the most weight. 

Does the project support Tourism?
Does the project support economic development?
Is there a plan in place for the 20% required match?
Will the completed project be self-supporting?
Is the project forward looking?
Is the project “shovel ready”?
Is there evidence of active community support?
Does this project have an “X” factor?  (passion for the project, inspires the heart, etc.)

Each committee member independently completed a score for each project and that was given to Dave Wagner who compiled the scores.  The combined scores were shared at the February 28, 2022 meeting in Middletown.

A top score was 51.

The ranked scoring provided a framework and starting point for the Committee’s final recommendation.

The following additional factors were also considered during the February 28 and March 3, 2022 meeting:

Positive: Greatest long term economic impact for the dollar spent; Greatest long term tourism impact for the dollar spent; Population enthusiasm for project

Negative: Appearance of conflict of interest; Communities feeling left out; Public opposition to project; Appearance of fairness

The attached March 2 Courier Times newspaper article also provides an accurate and succinct summary of the February 28 committee meeting. 

The top 6 ranked projects were recommended for funding.  Projects that received a funding recommendation lower than their requested amount were asked if they could still move forward with a successful project.  All applicants affirmed the lower amount.  Geographic fairness and local impact also played a factor in the remaining recommendations.

Respectively Submitted,
Henry County Food & Beverage Advisory Committee
This Summary and Recommendations Were Approved on a Vote of 6-0 on March 3, 2023

1 thought on “Henry County Food & Beverage Grant

  1. I wanted to see if the Cardinal Greenway was eligible to apply for the Food and Beverage Grant program. While we’re based in Muncie (Delaware County) we do have a section of the trail, and a trailhead, in Henry County. We’ve also received funding from the Henry County Community Foundation for projects on the segment located in the County. I do think we meet the Tourism and Economic Development requirements.

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