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7/9/2017 11:28:00 AM
Knox County Development Corp. ready to develop industrial mini-park

Jenny McNeece, Vincennes Sun-Commercial

Officials with the Knox County Development Corp. say everything is ready to go for the development of an industrial mini-park, but they will now likely wait until a specific request for land is made before they embark on any major infrastructure changes.

KCDC president Kent Utt told members of the organization’s board of directors Friday morning at the Vincennes University Isaac K. Beckes Student Union that the county’s Area Plan Commission last month gave preliminary approval to the park’s design that calls for just over 50 acres in the U.S. 4 Industrial Park to be set aside for the development of small businesses.

The organization had hopes on building out the infrastructure — roads and storm water drainage — on two lots as they had a local business owner interested in building in the mini-park.

But as that development has hit a “delay,” Utt said they will wait until another opportunity presents itself to move forward with any actual physical changes, which would require additional APC approval.

“We’ll just wait until we have an investor before we move forward,” Utt said.

But the design approved by the APC is good for the next three years, he added, and the process of making physical improvements would only take about 30 days to mow through.

“And stepping back will allow us to look at more grant opportunities when someone comes forward and says, ‘Yes, we want that plot,’” he said.

Utt said he is currently investing grant dollars from the state’s Economic Development Administration specifically that could be used for such infrastructure improvements.

Utt also reported that KCDC recently underwent a third-party audit, something in “good practice” for an organization seeking grant dollars, especially the multimillion grant from the EDA that helped to pay for the infrastructure needed to welcome Farbest Foods Inc. into the industrial park.

There were “no major findings,” Utt said, although there was mention of the organization’s new non-profit arm, the Life Enrichment Foundation.

The auditor, Alerding CPA Group in Indianapolis, wanted note made of the fact that neither Utt nor his administrative assistant Becky Litherland were being compensated for the hours put into developing the new organization. From now on, Utt said there would likely be some kind of documentation that they had “donated” their time, which would now be significantly less since it’s up and running and even governed by a separate board of directors.

Also, KCDC needs to set up a conflict of interest policy for those serving the Life Enrichment Foundation, Utt said, and there is a draft being vetted through the KCDC’s executive committee.

“We have a lot of overlaps in business owners, business orientations,” Utt said. “So if there is a conflict of interest that arises, there needs to be a process in place to properly disclose that conflict.

“But everything else looked good,” he said.

Leslie Beard with WIN Energy REMC, the organization’s new marketing committee chairman, said they are looking at a new website design that would be more “modern, easily accessible and mobile friendly” than the organization’s current site.

Copyright 2017 Vincennes Sun Commercial

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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