Infrastructure connects people to technology park in Angola

December 12th, 2016

By Jennifer Decker | KPC News - Herald Republican

Angola -

Add the infrastructure and people will follow.

That’s what Angola officials and developers are hanging their hats on toward developing a certified technology park.

The proposed park would be on a 40-acre parcel on the southeast side of the Interstate 69 and U.S. 20 interchange.

First, that site needs infrastructure of sewer, water and roads. That will be paid for with a $1 million Community Crossings grant the city secured from the Indiana Department of Transportation in August.

“The timeline’s up in the air. The state wants us to use it as fast as we can,” Angola Mayor Dick Hickman said about the grant.

Hickman said he expects the infrastructure to go out to bid in June.

During a meeting with industry leaders Thursday, Hickman said there have been numerous inquiries about the area, from possible technology companies to hotels. He said two hotels have inquired about property near the intersection at U.S. 20 and I-69 and another closer to the downtown.

“All of a sudden we have a lot of developers calling us,” Hickman said. “There’s just a lot of good things on the horizon in our community. Our future is very bright as long as we hold this economy together.”

The matching grant provides for improvements to roads and bridges. It was part of a compromise highway spending piece of legislation that made it out of this year’s session of the Indiana General Assembly.

The city’s match of the $1 million will come from Major Moves funding. That came from leasing of the Indiana Toll Road in 2006 with funding earmarked for infrastructure, roads and economic development.

The park is being developed by a group called Angola First that’s made up of Jim Ingledue, Wayne Klink, Vince Hansen and Ken Wilson.

Roads will be added or altered. Namely, to avoid the potential danger in having motorists make left-hand turns out onto U.S. 20, Hickman said the road will be extended to South C.R. 390W. Shoup Street will be reconstructed and connected to a new access road.

Hickman said interest in the proposed park is heating up.

“INDOT interest has picked up and we’ve had a couple of industries looking at it,” he said.

Hickman also noted there could be space for housing, sidewalks and walking trails.

Vivian Likes, Angola plan director, echoed Hickman’s sentiments.

“It’s very exciting. When the city first annexed it, nothing happened,” she said, adding that should change once necessary infrastructure is in. “Once the Angola First group took out the brush, it’s gotten people to notice.”

The state’s certified technology parks program was created to support growth of high-technology business, says the state’s website, in.gov. The certification allows for local recapture of certain state and local tax revenue that can be invested in the developing park.

Presently, the state has 24 certified technology parks. The closest is in Fort Wayne at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center.