Members of the Knox County Development Corp. continue in their effort to build a mini-park inside the U.S. 41 Industrial Park, one they hope will allow small businesses to grow and expand.
Kirk Bouchie, general manager of Vincennes Water Utilities and now chairman of the KCDC’s Site Development Committee, said they recently met and reviewed quotes on the installation of sanitary sewer infrastructure there.
The project entails installing an 8-inch sanitary sewer line for about 1,000 feet along Elkhorn Road near U.S. 41.
“It’s the infrastructure necessary to provide sewer to these lots, however they’re developed,” he said, pointing to a map that reflected the north side of the park where the mini-lots have been plotted.
The committee, Bouchie said, voted to recommend that the KCDC’s Executive Committee award a contract for $218,500 to Wabash Utilities for the work, and the executive committee approved that measure this week.
Wabash Utilities, Bouchie said, has done a lot of work in recent years both for Vincennes Water Utilities as well as companies located inside the industrial park itself, ones like Futaba Indiana of America and Farbest Foods Inc.
A timeline for completion of the project, however, is somewhat uncertain.
“All of these contractors are very busy right now,” Bouchie said, “but we are hoping to get this under way this fall, maybe a November or December timeframe.”
The Knox County Area Plan Commission three years ago gave preliminary approval to a new design that calls for just over 50 acres in the U.S. 41 Industrial Park to be set aside for the development of small businesses. The idea is to give existing small businesses the opportunity to grow but without committing to several acres and tons of square footage.
Two and three-acre tracts are available for purchase, but the KCDC has had little interest in recent years.
But new KCDC CEO Chris Pfaff said he continues doing everything he can to attract new businesses to Knox County.
He plans to attend an event in French Lick in October, he said, one sponsored by the Southwest Indiana Development Corp., where he will be able to pitch Knox County to several site selectors, or representatives who scout new locations for business and industry owners looking to move or expand.
Pfaff told the board of directors, gathered at Vincennes Water Utiities’ new drinking water facility on River Road, that he plans to highlight all that the U.S. 41 Industrial Park has to offer, both for large and small businesses. Those site selectors, too, will provide vital feedback on how Knox County is doing from a marketing and communications standpoint.
“Hopefully we’ll hear about things we could be doing better,” Pfaff said, “and I’ll work hard to expose them to sites and buildings that are available here in the county.”
Pfaff also on Friday told board members of two local companies he is working “very hard to retain.”
“We’re working very closely with the principals from those companies,” he said, “in making sure we have a package available that could help to retain them here in Knox County.
“They’re small companies, roughly less than 20 employees, but they’re important to the overall portfolio of companies in the county.”
And in other business, Pfaff said he wrote a letter of support for the Indiana Economic Development Association, which is writing a federal grant that would work to bolster the Hoosier ag community.
The idea, Pfaff said, is that the money would be spent in helping to make connections between existing ag industry leaders and other supply chains and manufacturers that would be good additions to the region.
Such efforts, too, complement ongoing efforts at the Pantheon: A Business and Innovation Theatre as a committee there, too, is looking to connect local farmers — particularly specialty farmers — with innovations in ag technology.