A need for water at two different locations along State Road 9 were the focal point of Monday’s County Commissioner meeting. Economic Development President Keith Gillen-water made a pitch to the commissioners regarding the projects.
Foremost is the Fillmore Equipment plan to build a new farm equipment dealership at the corner of St. Rd. 9 and CR 300N. The project was approved by the County Plan Commission last Monday and is awaiting a State of Indiana Department of Transportation permit for a drive way.
A representative of the firm, Ken Timmerman, told commissioners that their “drop dead” date for a confirmation that water will be provided is August 1. He explained that after that date the company would need to move ahead with plans to construct water holding tanks for a fire suppression system.
Gillenwater said that a meeting was held last week with representatives present from the Town of LaGrange, the county redevelopment commission, the regional utility district and EDC. “Pretty well everyone seems to be on board with this project,” Gillenwater said.
Timmerman said that Fillmore is willing to help with the $400 to $500,000 project up to an amount of $120,000 providing there is some way for them to recover that cost. He emphasized again that timing is very important as Fillmore expects to occupy the new building early in 2014.
This type of financing has been done before numerous times including the water lines to L A. West located east of LaGrange; the Westview Elementary School south of Shipshewana, and K-Z west of Shipshewana. All of these firms invested in the water projects and have been reimbursed through Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) dollars over time.
County Council President Peter Cook noted that this is a perfect fit for a Major Moves project of economic development. He asked Commissioner President Jac Price to call a joint session of council and commissioners for 9 a.m., or immediately following, the council meeting of July 8 to consider using Major Moves principal dollars to fund this project. The proposal would require affirmation by eight of the ten members of the joint body.
Gillenwater also addressed the need for water at the former Multi-Plex facility on the east side of St. Rd. 9 north of Howe. “We have a potential client for this facility and they will need to install a fire suppression system. The cost of such a system for the 200,000 sq. ft. facility is significant and without water is prohibitive,” he said.
Cook indicated that this matter can also be discussed at the joint meeting.
Water is currently available in the Fawn River Industrial Park about one mile north of the Multi-Plex facility. There is a conduit installed under the river that could accommodate the water line needed at the facility. It was also pointed out that there are other potential commercial and industrial water users along the way to the Multi-Plex building. “The additional water users at the park should help to reduce the subsidy that the county is currently paying the utility district for operations at the industrial park,” said Cook.