Daviess County Touts I-69 Impact
An Indiana county is crediting the opening of the I-69 extension for boosting the area economy. The Daviess County Economic Development Corp. says 12 major projects have taken place so far in 2013, resulting in $38 million in new investment. Executive Director Ron Arnold also says the growth has created hundreds of openings in just about every economic sector. October 24, 2013
WASHINGTON, Ind. – From heavy manufacturing to transportation and logistics to healthcare, Daviess County Indiana saw 12 major economic development projects take place to date in 2013. The projects attracted a total of $38 million in new investment and resulted in the combined project construction of more than a quarter of a million square feet, according to Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation.
During 2013 the county experienced strategic growth in critical infrastructure, which in turn helped attract and support new economic growth from business expansion, retention or relocation, said Arnold. The Daviess County Economic Development Foundation served the county in a number of ways for these advancements, including supporting important education initiatives as well as providing initial financing for some economic development projects.
“How can one measure success in economic development? With the sustained growth of the county, beginning with a diversified industry base in Washington and extending up and through the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park near Odon, we presently have between 225-250 job openings and vacancies in just about every economic sector in Daviess County,” said Arnold. “If you're looking for work, Daviess County just might be the place for you.” Daviess County presently is one of only three counties in Indiana to have an unemployment rate below 6.5 percent, reflecting the highest employment rate in the state (some neighboring counties have unemployment rates as high as 11 percent), according to the Stats Indiana Web site.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and Radius Indiana, a regional economic development partnership, both played “significant roles in either securing or providing financial support for a number of these projects, for which the county is extremely grateful,” said Arnold. Arnold also attributed the county’s overall success to a high degree of collaboration between county commissioners, county officials and city officials throughout Daviess. “The growth and expansion that we've achieved very much exhibits the forward thinking of county and city officials – a real strategic asset perhaps not seen as often as it should in many counties the size of Daviess.”
The projects included Alliance Barrier Films, a high-barrier film processor, who is building and staffing a new 17,600 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Washington, according to Joe Wellman, Mayor. When completed in 2017, Alliance’s entry into the high barrier film business will include four new multilayer film extrusion lines producing seven and nine layer films and employing 48 people, the Mayor said.
“This investment by Alliance Barrier Films illustrates the strong partnership between the county and city and the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation,” said Mike Myers, president of the Daviess County Council. “The Alliance Barrier Films facility will be located in a very strategic location near the new I-69 interstate, which will likely be the first of many to take advantage of this key position.”
“This year we have seen several projects come together that represent excellent win-win successes for the Commission and the Council,” said Tony Wichman, president of the Daviess County Commissioners. “We have a growing history of successful projects fashioned by the Daviess County economic development group and supported directly by the county and city, and we look forward to continued success here.”
Concerning new business, the successful series of closed deals and successful expansion or attraction actually began with the 50,000 sq. ft. expansion of an existing major MacAllister Machinery Company facility. This new facility now has facilities dedicated to rebuilding engines, transmission, torque convertors and final drives, as well as housing expanded parts, sales and service operations for MacAllister’s inventory of Caterpillar heavy and compact equipment.
Other business expansion projects included a new warehouse for Maysville Enterprises, a new production facility for Apex, a new food production facility for the Odon Essen Haus, the rehab of a vacant facility into new production operations for K-Line, an expansion by Farmers Storage Supply, and new office and workshop areas for Custom Agribuilders and Boyd & Company. DCEDC also supported and secured new office facilities for Farm Credit Mid-America and a new healthcare facility for Trilogy Health Services.
The new growth was directly supported by new infrastructure improvements. The opening of the new I-69 interstate in and thorough Daviess County continues to have a key impact on creating new economic development opportunities for the county. “This interstate has but begun to achieve its transformational potential in helping the Daviess County economy to grow and expand,” said Arnold. “We expect even more opportunities once the interstate is open all the way to Bloomington and points north in Indiana.”
In addition to the opening of the new interstate late in 2012, Daviess County saw momentous improvements to its strategic distribution, transportation, and logistics operations throughout the county.
The Indiana Rail Road Company completed and opened a new transload facility in Odon, a few miles from the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park and I-69 access. The transload facility now offers regional short-haul pick-up delivery options coupled with the Indiana Rail Road’s access to the entire North American rail network, according to Tom Hoback, president and CEO of the railroad company.
With road and rail improvements in 2013, Daviess County has added strategic improvements to its air infrastructure at the Daviess County airport. According to Ray Crawford, chairman of the Daviess County Airport Board of Directors, the year-round airport facility, which includes a 4,800 foot lighted runway and 25 commercial hangers, installed a $180,000 AWOS system (Automated Weather Observation System) this summer. The new equipment is expected to improve commercial air carriers and air tax service for the region as the airport prepares to extend its runway service to 5,000 feet, said Jack Miles, airport manager. Funding for the new AWOS was provided by the Daviess County Economic Development Foundation (DCEDF), which the airport expects to reimburse when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reopens federal funding opportunities. The DCEDF also provided financing for a strategic expansion of commercial aircraft hangar space.
“This new AWOS system, coupled with the new hanger capacity, could result in commercial jet aircraft being based here,” said Miles. “Having a commercial airport with this type of flexibility and service adds to the regional transportation and distribution portfolio that is anchored by the new I-69,” explained Arnold. “Time is critical to C-level executives, and having an expanded capacity for executives to physically visit and be part of local operations means greater opportunities for the county and region.”
To provide for the next generation of growth, DCEDF provided critical initial funding and support in 2013 to bring the successful CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program to the region, which has attracted statewide positive attention.
“Sometimes the key people who help start up a good initiative that has transformational qualities get left unrecognized, so we need to thank Dr. Dan Roach , Superintendent of Washington Community Schools and Leanne Kelly, Washington Hig