Local sites ready for development

July 20th, 2016 by Christy Householder

EDITOR’S PICK

2 locations receive state designations

Two Cass County land tracts are the first of their kind to receive a status from the state outlining their readiness for development.

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs designated two sections of the Cass County Agribusiness Park as Indiana Site Certified.

OCRA gave one site that’s about 57 acres off the north side of 300 South east of 375 West a Prime designation — Indiana Site Certified’s top tier. The designation is for sites consisting of at least 30 contiguous acres.

The state also recognized a site in the agribusiness park that’s about 22 acres off the east side of 325 West just north of the Ind. 25 Hoosier Heartland Highway with a Gold designation — the program’s middle tier reserved for tracts of at least 20 contiguous acres.

Cass County Economic Development Director Christy Householder and Brian Pohlar, an engineer with HWC Engineering, which provides engineering services to the county, said the local sites are the first two agribusiness Prime and Gold designations in the state.

There are other Prime and Gold sites across Indiana, Householder and Pohlar continued, but they cater to more industrial operations as opposed to agribusiness.

Pohlar said the county had to meet a variety of criteria for the designations, including having site control, conducting land surveys, contracting environmental surveys and archaeological digs and determining capabilities for water, sewer, gas, electric, fiber optic, transportation and fire protection.

“It’s basically just getting your ducks in a row and being ready for that developer and site selector to come in town,” Pohlar said.

Householder and Cass County Redevelopment Commission President Dave Arnold now have significant information to share with those potential developers and site selectors, Pohlar continued.

“It’s all to get it ready so if a developer came in tomorrow and talks to Christy or Dave and says, ‘I want to drop a 200,000-square-foot building there and do this,’ they have the information and they’re not scrambling,” he said.

Householder plans to start marketing the newly designated sites next week. She’s already been plugging the county’s efforts toward the designations to business contacts she’s made across the country as well as in Germany and Japan.

“I’ve been talking about it so now I can actually go back to those people that I’ve met and say, OK, we have sites, so hopefully they have companies that would be attractable that would complement other industry — our ag businesses in the park.”

Current Cass County Agribusiness Park companies include The Andersons, ADM, Essroc Italcementi Group, Miller Farm & Drainage, MH Eby Trailer, North Central Co-op and Heartland Truck Stop & Wash.

Reach Mitchell Kirk at mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5130

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