With close access to Crawfordsville and larger cities, the Interstate 74 and East State Road 32 corridor has long been targeted for development, and property owners know they’re sitting on prime land.

Now the county wants a list of shovel-ready sites in the area to move forward with land acquisition.

The Montgomery County Redevelopment Commission has begun working with a consultant to identify the best properties for new housing, businesses and industries. The consultant would then make initial contact with the landowners.

“It’s been one thing to have myself [and Redevelopment Commission member John Frey] out there walking around and talking to them or giving them a call, and we kind of got stuck there and haven’t progressed past it because we really don’t know how to do it,” commission president Ron Dickerson said.

Shovel-ready sites are typically defined as properties that are listed for sale and have full access to utilities, said Lana Beregszazi, president of Ft. Wayne-based BCS Management, who was hired to scope out the properties and create a plan to help market the corridor to investors.

“This county is very land-rich,” Beregszazi said. “You’ve got cornfields and bean fields as far as the eye can see. You’ve got all sorts of thoroughfares coming in to Crawfordsville, so of course you’ve got that highway accessibility, but you don’t really have any … developable sites.”

The corridor was selected from a list of priorities outlined in the county’s economic development vision plan.

Economic development consultant Cheryl Morphew said she has begun contacting industrial real estate brokers to offer tours of the area.

“They may think it’s still too early,” Morphew said, adding the corridor needs to be on brokers’ radar. “We’re the next rung out from Indianapolis and we need to get some opportunity here.”
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