Area consumers will soon have three more choices in Batesville.

Dollar Tree will open at Cross County Plaza next to Tractor Supply and Domino’s Pizza will fill the building northwest of the I-74-State Road 229 interchange formerly occupied by Starbucks, Batesville director of operations Tim Macyauski reported. One of his job duties is to approve building permits.

Hot Head Burritos will be added at the Batesville Shell gas station, according to a news release received by Mayor Mike Bettice. This will be the company’s third Indiana location.

The 1,300-square-foot restaurant serving burritos, bowls, nachos and quesadillas will seat around 40-50. Batesville co-owner and operator Jeff Yohler said in the release, “The flavorful menu offerings and inspiring environment are sure to leave the customer with an experience to remember.”

As the city grows, the Batesville Economic Development Commission will undergo a strategic planning session Nov. 8 led by Plaka + Associates, Indianapolis, CEO Courtney Zaugg, a certified economic developer who is familiar with the city from working on a past study.

BEDC President Kevin McGuire suggested at the Oct. 18 meeting it would be a good idea for Batesville Redevelopment Commission members to attend. Kevin Campbell, who serves on both panels, agreed, “We all kind of want to be working together on the same page here.”

Members of both groups will answer survey questions from the consultant ahead of time. They will rank priorities, among them the city-owned and for sale shell building and a lack of affordable housing.

Economic development director Sarah Lamping said Zaugg intends to give members information in advance. “Four hours isn’t a lot of time” for the session.

Member Ginnie Faller believed, “The prework part (of the session) is the part that’s super important.”

McGuire, Lamping and the consultant had a planning phone call. He reported, “We talked about some measurable objectives for Sarah. How can we use some of the (TIF) funds hopefully becoming available to best impact the community? What are some ideas” from other communities?

At the strategic planning session, “we are going to create some goals and guidelines” that could be made public afterwards. Campbell said he hopes attendees get professional advice: “’You need to do this.’”

The president observed, “There are only certain things we can impact. From a housing perspective, we’re not going to build a development,” but he wondered if the city could offer incentives.

Campbell asked if the city could help with financing a development.

The mayor said he talked to the Lawrenceburg mayor about housing two years ago. Then Lawrenceburg was purchasing blighted properties with revenue-sharing funds coming from casinos. Persons could buy houses for $5,000 after promising to either rehab the properties or tear them down and build new houses.

Faller, who works as a Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center business adviser, said that city offers facade grants to upgrade residential exteriors. “Lots of people apply for them.”

According to Lamping, recently a dog food company purchased a Muncie shell building. “The minute they sold the building,” an official wanted to build the next one because of the marketing opportunity it provides the community.

Faller said, “I totally get it. But it’s an expensive marketing opportunity.” The economic development director pointed out the advantage: “You’re getting people into your community ... from all over the world and nation who are looking at your building and your quality of life.”

At the Aug. 16 meeting, in a continuing effort to attract businesses and residents to Batesville, BEDC unanimously voted to provide $15,000 to the Batesville Marketing Coalition (Lamping, community development director Steven Harmeyer, Batesville Main Street executive director Tina Longstreth and BEDC members Faller and J.B. Showalter) so that a consultant can help formulate a plan.

The chosen consultant is Amanda Lucey, The Partnership, Atlanta, CEO, who has a lot of Indiana clients and comes highly recommended by Ripley County Community Foundation executive director Amy Streator, according to Longstreth.

Lamping noted, “We’re working on our marketing roadmap for next year. ... This consultant is going to be in the area in November and we’re hoping to meet face to face.”

Faller and Lamping felt planning would be done by the end of the year with implementation in early 2020.

More news:

• About 200 attended the Oct. 1 Work Batesville! job fair that attracted 30 businesses, Harmeyer said. “Right now it’s too early to judge how many people got jobs.” With 25-50 candidates per booth, “it was a success for a one-day event.” He is suggesting that area businesses recruit recent retirees, who typically show up on time and pass drug tests, a problem for some younger workers.

• Batesville was in the spotlight after the Indianapolis Business Journal reported Runnebohm Construction, Shelbyville, earned Merit Shop Construction Awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors Indiana/Kentucky Chapter for two structures here, the fire station renovation and new Cincinnati Children’s health care building, according to Lamping’s monthly report.

• She reported there’s lots of conversation with INDOT about a new road leading to the possible port near Lawrenceburg.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.