Knox, IN-- When the Starke County Development Foundation Board of Directors held its’ first meeting of 2005 on Monday, February 14th, the board members were faced with a wide array of issues that could have an immediate impact on Starke County. Several new members were introduced and were quickly called upon to make key decisions concerning the direction of economic development in Starke County.
The board is the governing body of the Starke County Development Foundation and as such also oversees the SCILL Center and the Starke County Tourism Director. The SCDF is a private corporation that contracts its economic development services to municipal and county governments of Starke County. The SCDF is also responsible for the management of the three industrial parks in Starke County.
The board consists of representatives from each local governing body as well as representatives from Starke County businesses, the Starke County Chamber of Commerce and several at-large members from the community.
New members of the board beginning in 2005 are:Jennifer Davis representing the Starke County Council; Mark Milo representing the Starke County Commissioners, Jon Mack representing Kankakee Valley REMC and Bill Tolson representing the North Judson Town Board.
Executive Director Terry Kimmel told the new board members that in serving as representatives on the board, they held a responsibility to ensure that the SCDFs’ economic development efforts were inline with the wishes of their governing unit.
“It’s important to remember,” said Kimmel. “Your involvement in this board and your participation are what determines the direction, we go in.”
After the new members were introduced, the board discussed the progress of the Hamlet Sewer project. Currently Territorial Engineering is gathering information during the planning grant stage of this project. Plans, alternatives, feasibility and costs will be ready by September for a Department of Commerce grant application.
The SCDF favors extending the Hamlet Sewer line through the Hamlet Industrial Park and across US 30 to the Oregon-Davis School System.Currently the industrial park and the school system both rely on septic systems while the Hamlet Sewer System has deferred maintenance due to a lack of revenue associated with it’s small user base.
Kimmel said that bringing the sewer line into the industrial park would be a much needed improvement to the infrastructure of the park and make it more attractive to potential industries.
At-large board member, Bill Sonnemaker, a retired industry site selector and resident of Bass Lake, told the board that industries would overwhelmingly reject a location without sewer service.
After discussing the Hamlet Sewer project, the board took up the issue of the General Woodworker property sale. The Starke County Commissioners had previously agreed to give the property to the SCDF in order for the foundation to sell the property to Steve Adler of Newark, New Jersey. Adler’s company, Adler Tank Rental, manufactures large, portable tanks used in oil fields or where storage of any liquid material is required. After the required clean-up and repairs of the site, Adler would require up to 20 employees.
Kimmel informed the board that a request for tax abatements for Adler had been presented to the Knox City Council on February 8th and that a final tax abatement request will be presented to the Knox City Council on March 8th.
After discussion, the board unanimously approved the property sale. Once the SCDF sells the property to Adler, all net proceeds will be transferred to the county government.
Also on the agenda that evening was the recommendation from the board’s Strategic Plan Committee that the SCDF invest the time and money to create a formalized strategy for the SCDF. This strategic plan would ensure that the foundations’ economic development efforts were focused on the activities and issues that were most likely to succeed in positively impacting the county’s economy.
“Developing a strategic plan requires getting input from many different directions,” said Kimmel.“The best way to for us to be sure that we are heading in the right direction is to touch base with industry heads, government officials and community leaders to get their input on our actions.”
“It’s also important to benchmark or compare ourselves with other economic development organizations,” continued Kimmel. “This strategic plan will basically help us create a blueprint for success.”
The board voted to work with the consulting firm of DeSco to develop the plan.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
The Starke County Development Foundation Board of Directors consists of: Ben Osinski, President;- list the board officers and members.
For more information concerning the Starke County Development Foundation or this release, contact:
Starke County Development Foundation
PO Box 53
4 North Main Street
Knox, IN 46534