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MIDCOR

MIDCOR directors cite industrial site,
bridge as top 2008 priorities

Agency delivers year-end report

By Don Ward
Editor

(January 2008) – Madison-Jefferson County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Corey Murphy listed Madison’s “Shovel Ready” development site in the city-county industrial park among the top achievements in 2007 during his Dec. 17 remarks before nearly 100 people at Ivy Tech Community College in Madison.

Corey Murphy

‘The county must
fight for a
new bridge.’

– MIDCOR
Executive Director
Corey Murphy

Murphy’s remarks came as he presented the agency’s Annual Report at the campus’ new conference center. He explained that Shovel Ready means an industrial development site has completed some permitting and thereby enhances the marketability of a site. Madison is one of only 30 towns in Indiana with a Shovel Ready site, he said. “It shortens the window of exploration for determining if a site is suitable for development,” he said.
He also cited the need for a new Ohio River Bridge as perhaps the most important challenge for future industrial development throughout the region.
“A replacement bridge is critical for the economic health of this region,” said Murphy, a Mitchell, Ind., native who took over head of MIDCOR in midyear. He called the bridge “our No. 1 macro-economic development issue.”
Although pursuit of a new bridge is virtually out of the hands of Hoosier legislators, Murphy urged the audience to contact lawmakers to urge them to fight for a new bridge. Kentucky transportation officials control the schedule for constructing a new bridge, which is set to begin in 2017 if it is not delayed. “We need to hold them to that schedule and not let them get off schedule,” Murphy said. “We must do whatever is necessary “to keep the momentum going.”
Murphy called for a professional economic impact study to be done on the region to explore the commodity flow between the two states. He noted that when the bridge closed for rehabilitation in 1997 that many area businesses never fully recovered because people found new places to shop. Indiana has earmarked $10 million toward the bridge from its Major Moves initiative to be allocated in 2012.
Murphy listed other highs and lows in business and industrial development. One low was the recent closing of Rockwell Reliance resulting in the loss of about 200 jobs. But R&T Steel & Wire opened in its place after the site was purchased by Midwest Tube Mills Inc. owner Rick Russell.

MIDCOR 2008 Board of Directors

• Tim Armstrong, Madison Mayor;
• Dan Baughman, Arvin Sango Inc.
• Julie Berry, Jefferson County Commissioner
• Matthew Forrester, River Valley Financial Bank
• Ann Grahn, County Representative
• Don Heiderman, Ivy Tech Community College
• Gary Huffman, Hanson America
• Chip Orben, Duke Energy
• Carl Risk III, King’s Daughters’ Hospital
• Margaret Seifert, Town of Hanover
• Tony Waltz, Waltz Properties

In all, Murphy cited a total of $541 million in local investment by area companies during 2006-07. That includes a $400 million expansion at the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. and an expanded production line at Madison Precision Products Inc. Other companies with recent expansions include Arvin Sango Inc., Clifty Engineering Tool & die, Madison Tool Inc. and Millennium Tool Inc., plus R&T Steel & Wire.
MIDCOR currently is working with a economic consultant to develop a strategic plan. Consultant Thomas Ticknor of Winnetka, Ill., spent four days in Madison in November talking with business owners. A recent three-question form was published recently in the local paper as part of the strategic plan initiative and only three people responded. “And two of them were from out of town,” Murphy said.
MIDCOR expects to receive Ticknor’s report sometime this spring. Ticknor’s consulting fee is $22,275, and to help cover this cost, Murphy obtained a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy.
Murphy also cited a recent Lilly Endowment Inc. grant that will provide $38 million to the southeastern Indiana region that ties workforce development to education. The Economic Opportunities 2015 (EcO15) grant is focused on education and covers three areas: advanced manufacturing, health services and hospitality-tourism. The division between the counties has not yet been determined. However, it is certain Decatur, Bartholomew, Dearborn, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Switzerland and Jefferson counties will all feel the effects, officials say.
MIDCOR is a 501c4 private nonprofit agency created in 1956 in response to the Jefferson Proving Ground losing 1,600 jobs. It is made up of a board of directors from local business and government. The agency is funded by the City of Madison and Jefferson County via service contracts, and through private contributions. According to its mission statement, MIDCOR strives to improve the economic climate of Jefferson County, to recruit new industries and to retain and expand existing industries that improve the quality of life in this area.

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