Industrial sites in Albion, Howe certified as shovel ready

January 7th, 2010

News Coverage:

Industrial sites in Albion, Howe certified as shovel ready

By Bob Braley

Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:50

FORT WAYNE - An industrial site in Albion and one in Howe were declared Certified Sites Wednesday by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

The move is designed to help attract industry to locate at the sites.

"We think this will improve our chances of bringing growth to Noble County," said Noble County Economic Development Corp. executive director Rick Sherck, who worked with property owner Keith Leatherman and Albion town officials to bring the designation there.

The Albion site is 65 acres in the North Ridge Industrial Park along S.R. 9 and C.R. 400N.

A 114-acre field in the Fawn River Crossing Industrial Park next to the Indiana Toll Road is the newly certified site just outside Howe. Its owned by LaGrange Cattle & Land LLC.

In order to receive the Certified Site Ready designation, each site had to meet 15 stringent benchmarked standards that will ensure a potential customer that the site is prepared for an expedited development process, catering to the stringent time lines of prospect companies and significantly minimizing the risk involved in the development process.

In all, six sites were certified Wednesday.

"The town of Albion was thrilled to receive the news that Keith and Barb Leatherman's vacant industrial property gas been certified site ready by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership," said Albion town manager Beth Shellman.

The preparation for the certification was done by the Noble County EDC and Leathermans and several town officials, Shellman said.

"With the completion of the water improvement project and positioning of a 300,000-gallon water tower adjacent to the site, the town is confident that certification will bring industry and jobs to our area," Shellman said. "We look forward to working with site selectors and developers to expand our industrial base in Albion."

Sherck added that Keith Leatherman has worked with town development for many years, and that this is the way he's chosen to work for the future of the town.

Leatherman sold an option on the land to the Albion Redevelopment Commission, Sherck explained. He still owns the land, but site selectors wanting to come to Albion can deal with the RDC to purchase it.

"We are very excited to receive this Certified Site Ready designation" said Keith Gillenwater, executive director of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. "This is a proactive step forward for LaGrange County. We are thankful to Ken Brink and Gene Riegesecker of LaGrange Cattle & Land LLC for seeing the value of taking part in this important program.

"We now have a certified site that will provide us with a distinct competitive advantage in attracting development, jobs, and capital investment."

The Howe project is a reflection of the kind of cooperation between private and public entities that helps attract growth, Gillenwater said. It's been especially helpful to have numerous agencies in LaGrange County, the town of Howe, and even the city of Sturgis, Mich., work together to bring the certification and project to fruition.

The Certified Site Ready program was established in Northeast Indiana as part of a collaborative effort between the Northeast Indiana Foundation, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, LaGrange County, and South Carolina based Strategic Development Group Inc.

The purpose of the program is to proactively prepare development ready sites to best meet the needs of site selectors and prospect companies in today's highly competitive global site selection market.

Northeast Indiana's Certified Site Ready program complements the Shovel Ready designation from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and gives northeast Indiana communities another avenue for site certification, according to a LaGrange County EDC press release.