News | June 10, 2011

Greene County Announces Major Project

The Greene County Redevelopment Commission has announced plans for a new multi-phase $3.5M wastewater treatment system at the WestGate @ Crane Technology Park. Commission President Hal Harp says he expects the system to spur growth at the park and along the I-69 corridor.

WestGate @ Crane Technology Park, Greene County, Indiana - Development and construction of a new multi-phase $3.5M wastewater treatment system here is expected to accelerate growth in Greene County and the surrounding region, according to Hal Harp, president of the Greene County Redevelopment Commission. An $1.5M treatment facility, which will be built in phase one of the total $3.5M system, is expected initially to treat about 50,000 gallons daily for area businesses and residents. This first stage of the project will also directly support the planned $8M WestGate Academy facility. Supporting both economic and rural development in the region, the treatment plant is expected to be operational before the end of 2011.

Harp was part of a formal ground-breaking ceremony for the new system on June 9. He joined U.S. Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Eighth District) and Indiana state representatives Mark Messmer (R-District 63) and Matt Ubelhor (R-District 62), as well as local Greene County and WestGate officials to mark the progress of the development.

"With the opening of I-69 in the region just ahead, the development of strategic infrastructure like this Greene County treatment facility is absolutely critical," said Congressman Bucshon. "The tech park will likely help accelerate growth in the region, helping capture new opportunities, and aid in bringing quality jobs for high-skilled workers in the region."

Eight new WestGate facilities totaling more than 250,000 sq. ft. in new construction have been built since 2006, and WestGate officials expect the new infrastructure to help double that capacity over the coming years.

Construction of the I-69 freeway up from Evansville, Indiana to the Crane region is expected to open by late 2012. An exchange at I-69 and U.S. 231, which will lead directly into the WestGate park, is expected to be completed and open by 2013.

"Many, many people and officials - both local and state - had to work hard together to make this happen," said Rep. Ubelhor, a resident of Bloomfield. "This new system, which will include both economic and rural development projects in its different phases, will now support the transformation of a vision for growth into reality for the region."

Given the park's remote location next to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) and 100-square-mile Naval Support Activity (NSA) in southern Indiana, growth of the WestGate earlier in the previous decade was challenged initially by the lack of wastewater treatment capacity and high-speed fiber broadband connectivity for new commercial buildings. The WestGate @ Crane Authority subsequently created a limited sewer district for the Daviess and Martin county sections of the park, which is served by a wastewater treatment facility on the NSA base. Smithville Digital in Ellettsville initially constructed the strategic high-speed broadband infrastructure and has since provided service over that conduit.

The new treatment facility being built by Greene County will ultimately serve the entire WestGate park, according to Kent Parisien, president of the WestGate Authority.

"This gives support for future commercial facilities and the construction of planned hotel, conference and retail facilities, which will complement the WestGate Academy," explained Parisien. "Greene County has truly stepped up to the plate to provide this critical infrastructure."

The WestGate Academy will comprise about 64,000 sq. ft. and is funded in part by a $6.6M grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"Continued expansion of the WestGate tech park in support of the $2B NSWC Crane will create jobs throughout the entire region and heighten the already-positive economic impact of the base on the state of Indiana," said Rep. Messmer, a resident of Jasper, Indiana who heads up the Crane Caucus for the Indiana General Assembly.

"The forward-looking vision of Greene County to provide this needed infrastructure will likely quickly open many new opportunities for growth and a higher quality of life in this rural area," he continued.

The development of the wastewater treatment facility is part of a broader plan for widespread economic and rural development, according to Joan Bethell, executive director of the Greene County Economic Development Corporation.

"We expect to continue working collaboratively with our elected officials and business leaders to advance both Greene County and region with new growth," said Steve Lindsey, president of the Greene County Commissioners.

"The Greene County Redevelopment Commission has worked long and hard to support and bring to fruition critical projects like this wastewater treatment system, and we look forward to more progress in the future."

Construction of the $1.5M facility in the system's first phase is being handled by Small-Wilson Contractors, LLC in Bloomfield. The Board of Commissioners in Greene County has created a regional sewer district which will operate the treatment facility and serve area customers, including future additional use by commercial facilities in the WestGate tech park.

According to Parisien, with the addition of the new wastewater treatment capacity, the WestGate Authority seeks to aggressively expand development opportunities-including seeking new developers and development companies-to advance the master plan of the park, create adequate speculative facility space, and allow for more flexibility in creating growth opportunities for current and future tenants of the WestGate.

SOURCE: Greene County Redevelopment Commission