MARTINSVILLE — The city of Martinsville will likely see a lot of changes in the next few years as I-69 is constructed and new businesses look to potentially relocate near the highway.
One area of the city that has been looked at in great detail in recent years for potential development is near the Liberty Church Road interchange.
Currently, much of the area around that interchange is flat ground with a lot of farm fields
On Thursday, the Greater Martinsville Chamber of Commerce hosted a Zoom meeting during which Growing Green, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2011, presented a proposed development in the Liberty Church Road area.
Growing Green co-founder Stephanie Nutter said that the organization has been working on creating a green energy EcoPark near Martinsville. She said Growing Green has been working with officials at both the county and city levels for about a year on bringing the EcoPark to the Martinsville area.
“There are two phases to the project,” Nutter said. “The first phase is to establish a green energy EcoPark near Martinsville and Morgan County. The second phase is to establish a recycling facility on one of the available lots within that EcoPark.”
Nutter noted that the recycling facility would act as an anchor business to help draw in more businesses around the area.
“We would like to have the first phase completed within a year,” Nutter said. “And the first phase completed means having shovel-ready sites for businesses to locate within the park.”
After that first phase is complete, Nutter believes it would take an additional six months to complete the second phase of the project.
One of the reasons the Liberty Church Road area was selected is because of its proximity to I-69 and an interchange.
Nutter also noted that Growing Green has been working with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. in order to understand what is needed to create shovel-ready sites within the park.
Some of the aspects of the EcoPark would also include walking paths, hiking trails and nature preserves.
“As well as lots available for businesses to locate and recreation areas for kids,” Nutter added.
According to Nutter, Growing Green has already entered into agreements to purchase about 114 acres of land in the Liberty Church Road area.
“It would be about half for businesses and half would be kept natural land with the hiking trials, and paths and play areas,” Nutter added.
The area of land in question is part of an opportunity zone created by the state about three years ago.
“An opportunity zone is an area in a developable location with access to interstate highways,” Nutter said adding that the zones were created to help direct financing opportunities for potential development.
The recycling center, part of phase two of the project, would be a material repurposing facility in which plastic, glass, aluminum and paper products would be accepted.
Growing Green has estimated that it needs about $13.7 million in order to complete the project.
Nutter said the organization is asking that the community raise $2 million towards the $13.7 million budget.
Because the land being purchased is in an opportunity zone, Nutter noted that there is an ability to have investors assist with financing the endeavor.
Chamber president and CEO Jamie Taylor said the project is still in its early stages and that a lot of the work is taking place in the background right now.
“And I think that this is a positive thing for Martinsville,” she said. “I think that it is something that we need. We do have issues with soil in some of the other parts of the county and city, certainly. So I think that there are a lot of reasons behind it.”