Redevelopment plants new seeds of growth

Friday, March 23, 2012

Normally concerned with industrial clients, major infrastructure priorities and related economic issues, the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission covered some new ground Wednesday afternoon.

While concrete and steel generally dominate discussion, it was more down-to-earth dialogue for the commission this month.

Corn and beans were on the menu Wednesday as the commission considered a three-year lease on the farm ground surrounding the Putnam County Airport property.

Four bids, ranging from $232 to $302.50 per acre, were received on the 40-acre site.

Submitting the winning bid were Abe and Shirley Hodgen of Roachdale, who farm some 4,600 acres in Putnam and Montgomery counties, Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory noted.

The $302.50-per-acre bid will result in approximately $12,000 annually for allowing the Hodgens to plant crops rather than letting the field lie fallow until the site might be needed for industrial purposes. It also represents a significant increase over the previous three-year lease when the price was less than $200 ($181) per acre.

The Hodgens "come well recommended," Dory said, adding that they are "well respected," are "good farmers" and have exhibited "good business practices."

The fields near the airport have been in a corn-soybean rotation, Dory said, with corn due to be planted this year.

The property is still a marketable industrial site. And the three-year lease allows for a settlement if the crops need to be removed to further an industrial project, the real cash crop of the property.

The lease agreement with the Hodgens was approved unanimously after a motion by Jim Ruark.

The Redevelopment Commission dealt with a second plant-related item Wednesday as it approved a $6,023.85 contract with Shrubworks of Roachdale to provide landscaping, weed control and flowers for the planters and tree pits in downtown Greencastle.

It was noted that the planters in front of the old Prevo store at Washington and Indiana streets (which will be the site of the new bookstore as part of the Stellar grant project) must be moved elsewhere because of forthcoming construction work on the new streetscape.

In other business, the commission:

-- Approved Resolution 2012-2, which makes the F.B. Distro property on Indianapolis Road an economic revitalization area for tax abatement purposes. The resolution was previously approved by the Greencastle City Council following a March 7 announcement by F.B. Distro that its expansion will add 135 jobs by 2014.

-- Amended the engineering contract for Garth Hughes to increase his fee to $100 per hour for any design work done for the Redevelopment Commission. The previous contract specified $75 an hour.

Joining Dory and Ruark for the meeting at City Hall were Chairman Erika Gilmore, members Drew Brattain, Gary Lemon and Gwen Morris, along with Mayor Sue Murray, City Attorney Laurie Hardwick and Greencastle School Board President Bruce Stinebrickner, an ex-officio member of the commission.

The Redevelopment Commission will next meet in regular session at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 at City Hall.

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  • I don't know of anyone that is receiving $300+ per acre in rent for farm land. Most that I know about get $100-$125 per acre. Are these farmer ripping us off? What's up?

    -- Posted by gunner on Fri, Mar 23, 2012, at 1:05 PM
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