City officials know how to get 2014 started right. Batesville has been awarded a $500,000 Lawrenceburg Regional Economic Development Grant.
Upon the recommendation of the grants committee, the Lawrenceburg City Council unanimously approved the allotment to Batesville Dec. 30, reported Mayor Rick Fledderman, who was there to hear the great news.
According to the grant application, the project includes infrastructure improvements to Merkel Road and an access road and utilities into the new 73-acre industrial park, located on the east side of Merkel Road and south of I-74.
"The improvements to Merkel Road will allow additional ingress and egress to the businesses and industries located within the Batesville Commerce Center. Currently Merkel Road is closed to heavy truck traffic. The access road and utilities to the industrial park will allow for construction of a 'shell' building to entice new industries, creating jobs."
The project's cost is estimated at $1.1 million, the document stated. Fledderman noted, "This was presented as a collaborative effort between the city of Batesville and Ripley County. Ripley County has pledged $100,000 toward the improvements to this road. Letters in support of this project were received from state Sen. Jean Leising; Rob Reiners, president of the Ripley County Board of Commissioners; local government officials and commissions; and local industries, medical facilities and educational facilities that will be impacted favorably as a result of the improvements."
Even with the grant and county contribution, "the city’s going to have to put some money into this also," the mayor said.
LREDG program director Grant Hughes observed, "From the committee's point of view, this is a project that is the basis of all development – getting a site nearer to shovel ready so it positions Batesville to be able to respond quickly. When a search comes in, they'll have a piece of property that's prepared and ready. Hopefully ... it gives Batesville a cutting edge" in attracting a company.