ODON - A group of county and state agencies is teaming up in an effort to boost economic development at Naval Support Activity Crane in southwest Indiana. The 26-member White River Military Coordination Alliance says it will aggressively support long-term economic growth and military value for the nearly 100-square mile naval base.

The alliance will be chaired by Gene McCracken, who also serves as vice president of the Lawrence County Commissioners. The group says one of its major tasks will be to provide positive and practical support for putting the recent NSA Crane Joint Land Use Study into action.

The study was first announced in 2014 and recently completed and the WRMCA says it helps provide a pathway for positive development that is compatible with the military missions of NSA Crane. The alliance says it will focus on three general areas in its goal of implementing the study:

  • Formal efforts to build trust among the alliance members and region through mutual two-way communication between the communities, counties, state agencies and NSA Crane
  • Help sustain and grow NSA Crane's established capacity to provide military value
  • To foster mutually beneficial development in the region and create a problem-solving platform for all engaged parties 

"We have the advantage of a talented and highly motivated group of economic development professionals, elected officials, senior military representatives and others who all hold the strategic support of NSA Crane and NSWC Crane as critically important," McCracken said in a news release. "We already have created positive momentum in the region with the joint communication efforts that produced the new NSA Crane Land Use Study, and we expect to build on that momentum with the Alliance."

The alliance includes economic development directors, mayors, county commissioners, county and city council members, command-level officers from NSA Crane, Regional Opportunities Initiative Chief Executive Officer Tina Peterson, Southern Indiana development Commission Executive Director Greg Jones, state agency administrations and representatives from Radius Indiana, among others.

"Several officials in the various counties and NSA administrators have collaborated previously for important initiatives like the three-county WestGate@Crane Technology Park," said Brianne Jerrels, vice chair of the new alliance and executive director of the Greene County Economic Development Corp. "We all look forward to this new Alliance serving as a catalyst to improve communication even further and help create new opportunities."

The alliance says it expects to release additional details of its plan to support its three main initiatives later this spring.