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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

CACFID determined to move forward

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Workers from McCloud Electric Services were busy erecting new street lights in downtown Greencastle Wednesday. Mayor Sue Murray reported to CACFID that all the lights were be up within 10-12 days.
Members of the Citizens Advisory Commission For Industrial Development (CACFID) were determined to continue to move forward with their plans despite the country's recession

"We will be ready" was the slogan of the meeting, as committee members reviewed information from Mayor Sue Murray about Ivy Tech fundraising, the Economic Development Center and pursuits for an economic improvement district in downtown Greencastle.

Murray reported to the council a recent conversation with Ivy Tech officials Jeff Pittman, Becky Miller and Brad Johnson about fundraising efforts for the new facility being built in Putnam County.

"Not much has happened with fundraising. People are looking at their portfolios and not doing much. These are very difficult fundraising times," said Murray.

One option Ivy Tech staff discussed with Murray was the creation of a five-year duration for donations as opposed to three years.

In light of CACFID members making a commitment of a $300,000 matching donation this is good news.

"If Ivy Tech is comfortable with this, I don't see a downside to it," said Board President Bob Hutchings.

"I think it is a win-win for everybody," added board member Ken Eitel.

Murray also reported Ivy Tech officials were very happy with the progress on the campus being built off Veterans Highway.

The only problem right now is getting the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to agree to put a stoplight at the intersection of Zinc Mill Road and S.R. 240, next to Greencastle Middle School.

Letters requesting the stoplight have been written by Pittman and Bob Greene, Superintendent of the Greencastle Community School Corporation, and others.

A survey completed by the city and sent to INDOT is in dispute as INDOT believes there is 25 percent less traffic than stated in the survey due to right turn traffic.

City Planner Shannon Norman told the board they believe their numbers are true. The Bernadin Lochmueller study says that current traffic numbers at the intersection necessitate the installation of a stoplight.

"It's a matter of putting together all the pieces. INDOT's survey with our survey and other pieces of information. I think there is still hope for getting the stoplight," said Norman.

City officials say they have approached the state highway department a number of times in the past few years, however, state officials told them a stoplight was not needed at that particular intersection.

The intersection is the site of many car accidents and city officials have said they believe the problem will only worsen with the construction of the new Ivy Tech facility that is being built across the street from the middle school.

Bernardin Lochmueller said in its report that the S.R. 240/Zinc Mill Road intersection warrants a stoplight due to the number of vehicles that pass through it during an average eight-hour day and for the amount of traffic that is present during peak hours of a given day (chiefly the time right before and after school).

Norman pointed out in an earlier meeting this year, that Bernardin and Lochmueller feel a stoplight is warranted at the intersection even before Ivy Tech opens its doors.

"Keeping children safe is a priority. We're not giving up," stated Murray.

Bill Dory, Director of the Economic Development Center, gave an update to the council. He told the board a local business was planning to make some modest improvements and they would be asking for tax abatements at the next City Council meeting.

He also reported his department would be purchasing mail lists with executive contacts on it to market the Industrial Center building located near Lear Corporation at the edge of town.

Dory explained to the council that Greencastle downtown property owners are preparing to approach the City Council to implement an Economic Improvement District.

In common terms this is a business improvement district. State law allows group of property owners to come together to raise funds to provide services in a defined geographic area.

In this case, the property owners in the Courthouse Square Business District are working together.

The geographic area is approximately from City Hall to Market Street on the east and west, and from Columbia Street to Walnut Street on the north and south.

A public information session about the initiative is slated for Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at Almost Home. It will provide an overview of the district.

"We have, as a community, been able to make these kinds of preparations," said Hutchings. "Only a handful of communities have stepped forward like we have. This board is only one of two in the state of Indiana doing what we are doing."

"When the economy gets better, we will be ready," he said referring to various plans for economic development in the county.

In other business:

Murray reminded board members that they serve a one-year term and that those terms end Dec. 31, 2008. She asked members to let her know their plans about staying on the board.

Murray told the board the first streetlight has been installed and the remaining ones should be up in 10-14 days.

She also recognized City Attorney Laurie Hardwick for her hard work on property acquisition for the People Pathways.

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If someone asks for a tax abatement, don't you have to know who they are? Once again, there's secrecy everywhere and I still ask the question, "Why?" As for purchasing a list of prospective buyers, go out and do your job. This should have been sold along time ago. Obviously someone hasn't been trying hard enough in the last two to three years.

-- Posted by whodouthinkur on Thu, Dec 4, 2008, at 7:30 AM

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