The written presentation shows Batesville’s impact on Ripley County’s economic health. Of the county’s assessed value, the city of Batesville and nearby Laughery and Adams townships comprise 31 percent.
A study estimated 2,213 county residents work in Batesville at 10 companies. Fledderman said, “You can see that Batesville is a hub of job activity for the county.” The presentation noted, “It is clear that the Batesville area is a key economic driver for Ripley County from both a tax generating and job retention/growth perspective.”
Commissioner Robert Reiners asked what happens now if two trucks meet on Merkel Road. According to Lambert, “They come pretty close to a stop. They can pass, but it’s not adequate.” Saner added, “They’re on the shoulder.” Lambert maintained, “It is a safety concern.”
Keith Crum, president of Crum Trucking, located in the existing Batesville Commerce Center on Lammers Pike, agreed. “We’ve been waiting for this (a better Merkel Road) since 2000 ... We’ve had a lot of close calls down there coming out on 46” from Lammers Pike. He explained his 125 truck drivers can’t see S.R. 46 motorists approaching from the left because of the road’s curve and it takes 9 seconds for a semi to make the turn. “Our drivers complain all the time. They don’t want to be in an accident.”
The presentation included eight letters of support for the project, including two from commerce center presidents. Dale Meyer of Heartwood Manufacturing wrote, “Improvements are absolutely necessary before any new business can consider building at this site. These new businesses will create jobs and a better tax base for Ripley County.” Michael Feagins of EL Tek of Indiana pointed out, “With most of our customers being just- in-time manufacturing, and our fines starting at $1,000 per minute if we are late, the use of Merkel Road can save us on average seven to 10 minutes rather than driving through town to the entrance of Lammers Pike.”