updated: 7/25/2012 11:58:21 AM
The WestGate @ Crane Technology Park is marking its seventh year of operation. The park has grown to house more than 12 national commercial defense companies and has created more than 400 high-paying jobs in the area near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.
July 25, 2012
CRANE, Indiana (July 25, 2012) -- The WestGate @ Crane Technology Park celebrates its seventh year of growth this month, dating back to July 2005 when then-Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mickey Maurer and other officials of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) met with county officials to determine whether to expand a state certification for Daviess County into adjoining areas in Greene and Martin counties.
“In March 2004 the State of Indiana certified as a state technology park in Daviess County a few hundred acres of hard-scrabble bean and corn fields,” said Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. “The area in the three counties was dotted here and there with abandoned army barracks, a former elementary school and burnt-out trailers,” added Kent Parisien, president of the WestGate Authority. “But the vision was clear,” he continued. “We were to develop this rural land to mirror the state-of-the-art technology growth that was occurring a few hundred yards away at one of the U.S. Naval Sea Command’s [NAVSEA] international crown jewels, the $2 billion Naval Surface Warfare Center [NSWC], Crane Division.”
According to Arnold, it was a tall order, given that the NSA Crane facility (which includes the NSWC Crane operation) was then being threatened by the Pentagon’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and assets were few. Vic Lechtenberg, now the interim Provost of Purdue University and then the university’s Vice Provost for Engagement, was at the WestGate meeting with other Purdue officials and expressed the university’s support. “Mr. Maurer noted that he was impressed with the potential the region offered, and agreed to support the process to bring the counties together and form the first multi-county certified tech park,” Arnold said. Seven years later, the Local Economic Development Officials (LEDOs) involved in the WestGate are pleased to report that the state’s confidence and subsequent investments have been well rewarded.
Now home to more than 12 national commercial defense companies and more than a quarter of a million square feet in all-new construction for mixed-use, office and industrial facilities, “the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park represents a true success story for the state of Indiana,” according to Parisien. The park supports a combined payroll of nearly 1,400 technology professionals, engineers and scientists for NSWC Crane- and WestGate-related jobs throughout the region, and has itself created more than 400 high-impact, high-paying jobs for the area. Total public and private investments for projects completed, soon-to-be completed and soon-to-be announced have crested over $75 million for the WestGate facility, creating a high velocity of funding through the region.
Initial serious concerns over wastewater and other infrastructure for this remote facility have long since been overcome by local authorities with construction of all-new capacity and roads. The 400-acre park will soon be much more accessible and less remote, when it enters a new era with the opening of the I-69 interstate extension. This new interstate will help create the possibilities of new industry clusters for transportation, distribution and logistics, especially considering that the Navy-led joint military facility is already one of Indiana’s top logistics operations.
The all-new 64,000 sq. ft. WestGate Academy will open this fall, bringing with it the opportunity to bring back to the region international technology conferences and seminars put on by or associated with NSWC Crane, as well as comprehensive training programs. A high-end franchise hotel will soon begin construction in the park, as will the $12 million game-changing Battery Innovation Center (BIC). The BIC is expected to attract and create a whole new energy-development related national cluster for the region, complementing the work performed by NSWC Crane, according to Parisien.
Creating hundreds of jobs, attracting multiple millions of dollars in investment, and literally transforming a region, “the WestGate truly has become an Indiana economic powerhouse,” said Charles Selby, executive director for the park.
About the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park Qualified as a state Certified Technology Park (CTP) by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park represents a natural marketplace for defense contractors currently providing technical support, and research and development services to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division and other technology applications, including energy development in southern Indiana. Operations of the $2 billion URS corporation, and SAIC, the nation’s 7th largest defense contractor, in addition to ITT/Exelis, CACI, CSC, CTC, CLEC, MLE, Raydar & Associates, Novonics, NAVMAR, Stimulus Engineering and Technical Services Corporation (TSC), already maintain operations in the park. The new WestGate Academy also offers incubation space and support for technology entrepreneurs and those interested in the transfer of approved technology from NSWC Crane. For more information, please visit www.westgatecrane.com. For media inquiries, please contact Michael Snyder at The MEK Group at 317-805-4870 or by e-mail: email@example.com
Source: WestGate @ Crane Technology Park