BEDFORD — Greg Jones, executive director of the Southern Indiana Development Commission, took a few minutes earlier this week to update Lawrence County Commissioners Gene McCracken, Rodney Fish and Dustin Gabhart on the organization's activities.
For 42 years SIDC, headquartered in Loogootee, has served Martin, Daviess, Greene, Knox and Lawrence counties, endeavoring to promote economic development in the region while enhancing the quality of life.
Jones listed SIDC's goals for 2018:
• Achieve improved and expanded community infrastructure basic to residential, industrial, tourism and commercial development.
• Achieve improved quality of life through improvements to community facilities, education, housing, medical facilities and other community resources.
• Achieve increases in the level of income and employment through expansion and attraction of manufacturing, processing, tourism and agricultural facilities.
• Achieve stability in the existing manufacturing, production and government facilities through direct assistance and assistance to local development organizations or regional planning commissions.
• Achieve expansion of basic planning, coordination and organization needed to develop sound and responsible long-term development practices.
• Achieve expansion of alternative financial resources in order to expand the ability to capitalize new and expanding businesses and industry.
• Achieve expanded potential for economic expansion and reuse of of commercial and industrial sites through expansion of brownfield efforts.
• Retain or replace jobs lost from the downtown of the mining industry.
Jones noted SIDC recently teamed with the county to raze and remove the former jail annex and also sought — and was granted — funding to do the same with old Huron School, which has been a source of ongoing concern for residents in that community.
The commission also applied for a homeowner repair and improvement grant and has spent $36,000 helping to pay for traffic counts needed when applying for highway funds. He said with the expansion of road work associated with the new statewide Community Crossing Matching Grants initiative, SIDC will require assistance providing match monies in the future.
McCracken said the commissioners had anticipated that development and will adjust the new budget to cover any shortfall.