Shan Sheridan, the executive director of the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, updated local leaders on the development of the I-65/Ind. 28 interchange at Thursday’s Industry Leaders Luncheon on the second floor of the Adrian Marks Terminal at the Clinton County/Frankfort Municipal Airport.

“COVID(-19) has impacted us from an economic development standpoint,” Sheridan told those in attendance. “As you can imagine, we had multiple projects in the que for the (I-)65 interchange. Right now, one project, which was a very large, significant investment and major employer has been put on pause. We hope to know more about that in the next weeks to come, more than likely this fall.”

Sheridan also informed the group that some hotels have backed out of plans to build in Clinton County after the effect the pandemic has had on the industry.

“The thing that really was a momentum stopper for economic development in our county and communities has been the hotel business,” he said. “We had three hotels that were wanting to potentially build here in Frankfort – one potentially in Frankfort and then two out at the 65 interchange. I will tell you that one of the companies are probably facing bankruptcy, and the other two have pulled out altogether. They are not interested in doing anything right now. They have been decimated. Hotels have really taken it on the chin.

“That was really a kick in the gut because we were pretty excited about that,” Sheridan added. “At some point, we will come back. We just don’t know how quickly.”

Sheridan also updated the group on the construction of infrastructure for the project.

“Infrastructure-wise at 65, water pipe is being laid,” he said. “The wastewater pipe is in the process and then, from that point on, that will be to the end of February or March timeline that all of that will be completed. NHK is looking to be operational by June next year if not earlier.

“NHK Seating is going to have about 600 folks out there at the plant at (Ind.) 28 and 65,” Sheridan continued. “They are going to keep their plant here in Frankfort. They will be continuing manufacturing, and the other plant will be more assembly and distribution and giving them just in time to Subaru because they do make all of the seats for Subaru.”

Sheridan said that there are some retail and restaurant opportunities that he is excited about.

“I think people are going to get really excited about that as they start coming down the pipe,” he said. “But, right now, we are in pause mode. Everybody is saying the same thing. ‘We have to get through the summer, and then maybe we will revisit in the fall.’ So, it is really a good thing that it is happening.”

The City of Frankfort’s planned annexation west along the Ind. 28 corridor to the interchange with I-65 was also discussed. The city has scheduled a series of public meetings to discuss that process.

“There is an annexation process to annex 28 and 65 so that it will be (part of the) city, which we have fully supported throughout the years,” Sheridan said. “We always thought that is a 46041 zip code, so that should be Frankfort. Eventually, it will be annexed into Frankfort. How that annexation ends up looking like, we still don’t know for sure. During that process, we are just trying to attract more folks.”
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