Eight months after tornadoes caused heavy damage throughout Howard County, a high-profile facility is re-emerging, and officials say it’s better than before. Inventrek Technology Park in Kokomo is hosting a grand reopening Thursday after a $3.4 million renovation. It’s home to a number of businesses and organizations including the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance office and Howard County’s first coworking space, The Shared Drive. In an interview that will air this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television, Alliance Chief Executive Officer Charlie Sparks says work at the park has been more than a repair, it’s been a big upgrade.
"The facility presents itself so much better today," he said. "Just the appearance of the facility and the enhancements that we’ve made here. And it’s a space the community can be proud of." He says close to 26,000 hours worth of work has been poured into the park to date.
He says the city’s business community really stepped up in the wake of the storm. In several cases, businesses that call the park home were given temporary space at other spaces in Kokomo while the facilities were being mended. Sparks adds the storm also served as the jolt some businesses needed to turn the corner and graduate from the park.
The 13 year-old facility is a state-certified tech park and Sparks says challenges include regaining its previous number of tenants. "We have quite a bit of work to do there. We have quite a bit of square footage available that was not available previously, but we’re working hard to do that and we have a plan in place that I think will get us there," he said. Current occupancy is now 60 percent, down from 96 percent pre-tornado.