Enterprise Center nears its opening

March 22nd, 2017

By Mike Marturello | KPC News - The Herald Republican

The Enterprise Center continues to take shape physically and administratively.

A number of reports presented during Tuesday’s Steuben County Economic Development Corp.’s board meeting focused on The Enterprise Center, which is home of the SCEDC at 907 S. Wayne St.

The board is working toward the center’s training facilities opening next month.

“It’s really coming together,” said Brent Shull, Hamilton’s representative to the board.

While CNC and welding equipment have been in place for weeks, the classroom component is being finalized. In addition, office space in the main building is shaping up for potential tenants, including two who are preparing to move in.

The Angola Area Chamber of Commerce is moving its offices to the facility from the extreme north side of Angola while WorkOne is going to have a strong presence in the facility, reported Isaac Lee, SCEDC executive director.

WorkOne’s space will be considered a comprehensive site, which will provide it much room and flexibility. In addition to job support, WorkOne will be able to offer classes of its own and possibly job fairs.

There will even be an occasional, at least, presence by the district director, Lee said. From The Enterprise Center, WorkOne will provide services to three counties, DeKalb, LaGrange and Steuben.

Meanwhile, Lee is reaching out to superintendents from the four county school districts to show them the facility and possibly serve as a conduit between them and employers in determining needs.

“We’ve got to do a better job of connecting those dots,” Lee said.

He said he has been having email conversations with the superintendents and has given a tour of the facility to Bill Stitt, Fremont Schools superintendent.

Lee informed the board that the first installment of Regional Cities money has been provided to The Enterprise Center in the form of a $161,500 check, which is half of the grant awarded last year and finalized just a few weeks ago.

The board also approved extending its $250,000 loan on the building as a one-year, interest-only note with Farmers State Bank. The seven-acre complex was purchased for $450,000.

Board Treasurer Hitesh Patel said once revenue starts coming in the board will be in better shape to start paying down the loan.

“There will be some income coming in so that will be a good thing,” said Craig Ralston, board president.

Revenue will start coming in soon once WorkOne and the Angola Chamber start leasing office space. Other tenant arrangements are in the works.