Steuben Looking at Certifying Industrial Sites

August 15th, 2012

News Coverage:
KPC News

Steuben Looking at Certifying Industrial Sites

By Mike Marturello,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 1:00 am

ANGOLA – Steuben County government is looking at funding a program that would work toward creating certified shovel-ready industrial sites in the county.

The project, which would cost $155,550, would provide environmental assessments, wetland delineation, soil borings and geotechnical analysis and land surveys, including topographical maps with 1-foot contours. Of the cost, $130,550 would be paid by the county with $25,000 from the Steuben County Economic Development Corp.

“We are proposing to go above and beyond what is being done elsewhere,” Dave Koenig, executive director of the SCEDC, told the Steuben County Council on Tuesday.

In addition to the four-pronged work being proposed by the SCEDC, it is looking at securing options on four particular parcels of land with the hope of future industrial development. The parcels, which cover 1,087 acres, were not identified by Koenig.

“I just think this is very important to move this forward,” said Councilwoman Sara Tubergen, who said the county is slipping backward due to job losses and a lack of job creation.

Many site selectors do not look at communities that do not have certified shovel-ready sites. Only one exists in Steuben County that is certified by the state, a 37-acre parcel in Hudson. Fremont has shovel-ready land, but it is not certified.

“We are being overlooked if we do not have these sites,” Tubergen said.

“We need to be prepared. We need to have something to offer,” Commissioner Ron Smith said.

In addition to the four sites identified by an SCEDC committee, a fifth one has been added to the list “based on a very solid and credible inquiry,” said a report from Koenig. “While still preliminary, (the) proposed project includes a large data center. Total investment and employment are unknown at this time but would be significant.”

That site covers 1,160 acres, 224 of which are inside a municipal jurisdiction.

The other four properties have 224 acres within municipal jurisdictions and 863 outside.

Though no specifics were outlined, Smith and Commissioner Jim Crowl said the site work could be set up so that when the land is sold, costs covered by the county could be reimbursed.

There are about 90 certified, shovel-ready sites in Indiana, based on state certification. Another program is through the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, a 10-county consortium, which has much more stringent requirements than the state program.

Koenig provided a time line that would have the county applying with NIRP for certification in April 2013.

Commissioners plan to take up the proposal at their Monday meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. in the Steuben Community Center, 317 S. Wayne St.

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