Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

December 27, 2013

Shell building decision should come in January

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Batesville Economic Development Commission members have met several times with consultant Greg Martz of GM Development, New Castle, about the possibility of constructing a shell building in Batesville to add jobs here, President Andy Saner announced at the Dec. 20 monthly meeting.

Axis Architecture, Indianapolis, which has partnered with GM Development, “has started to do some high-level renditions” about what the structure could look like.

According to Saner, “We have had to start focusing in on location,” either the almost full Batesville Commerce Center on Lammers Pike or the totally vacant industrial park on Merkel Road. Martz said, “There are certainly positives with both ... The consensus is the new industrial park is the place to go from a marketing standpoint.”

The president reported, “We’re getting very close to a point where we’re going to want to make a decision about whether we as a committee want to move forward with the project.” He told members to expect a special meeting most likely in early January, before the regular third Friday meeting.

Community development director Sarah Lamping said city administrative assistant Andrea Wade “is taking on the challenge” of updating the city’s Web site. Mayor Rick Fledderman said Enhanced Telecommunications Corp. employees have been collaborating with city workers on the site since late 2011. He likes the look of the BEDC Web site and wants consistency between the two.

Lamping added now the sites look different. “We want to package ourselves and make sure we look good.”

Before more aggressive marketing for the potential shell building begins, she has been comparing data about available Batesville commercial and industrial properties and lots on the city, BEDC, Ripley and Franklin counties and Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s ZoomProspector Web sites to make sure it is consistent. “We’ve got right now about 16 ... sites available in the Batesville area … all different sizes.”

BEDC member Gene Lambert said, “Marketing this (shell) property is going to be important to us.” He asked about marketing tools, such as mailings, brochures, handouts, CDs and memory sticks. “Now’s the time to start thinking about those so that in January (after a decision is made), we’re trying to … sell it” if the vote goes that way. Lamping assured, “We’ll be working with Greg, who has some individuals teed up and have expertise in that area. … It does involve Web sites and social media.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

More progress • The mayor maintained Batesville's strategic plan must be updated. "We've accomplished a lot" of the last plan's goals. City officials have distributed a request for proposals to update the comprehensive plan, which will be merged with the 2011 Indiana Stellar Community Pilot Program grant application and current BEDC plan to become the new strategic plan. Lamping added city leaders may re-apply for a Stellar grant. • Lamping is working with Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Small Business Development Center officials to bring to town a seminar called "Staying Relevant to a Changed Customer" in February. • She met with Gibson Theatre operator Kim Powell about how to fund a new digital projector as movies will be distributed in that format only after Jan. 1. They are exploring a variety of grant opportunities. According to Fledderman, Powell has filed for not-for-profit status for the theater with the Internal Revenue Service. • The community development director has assisted the Food and Growers Association of Laughery Valley and Environs with an application to Purdue University on rebuilding the local food system. • She will take a Ball State University economic development course funded by a Duke Energy scholarship during the week of Jan. 13.