Daviess County is driven. Maybe more so now than ever after the official launch of the Advance Daviess County Coalition and the Daviess Driven campaign to bring the Mid-States Corridor through the county that took place Tuesday just off U.S. 50 and Interstate 69.

Under the direction of the Daviess County Economic Development Corp., its Executive Director Bryant Niehoff said the coalition is made up of community leaders from around the county who hope to promote economic recovery efforts during and after COVID-19.

“In Daviess County, it is no secret that we have a variety of unique assets and opportunities,” said Niehoff. “Together, backed by this coalition, Daviess County is and will continue to be well-positioned to capture future growth and investment opportunities that push us to the next level.”

To get to that next level, the coalition, which is currently chaired by Tony Graber, president of Graber Construction and Graber Crane, has identified three pillars to aid in the long-term economic development of the county. Those pillars include growth and retention, supply chain reaction and quality of life.

Niehoff said the first step in the process is to gain commitment for the Mid-States Corridor. That’s why the Daviess Driven campaign was started — to serve as a vehicle to show the state that the county is positioned and ready for new opportunities.

Currently there are six routes for the Mid-States Corridor project still in contention for the project that would begin on SR 66, near the William H. Natcher Bridge that crosses the Ohio River at Rockport. The roadway would then continue near Jasper and Huntingburg before tying into another roadway.

Three of those routes, route B and routes C East and C West, both tie into I-69 in Daviess County. According to information provided at the press conference by the coalition, the most cost effective and shortest routes, are the two that connect I-69. Those routes are also the least environmentally intrusive and would have the least amount of impact on existing forest, streams, wetlands, floodplains and no impact on sinkhole and sinking stream areas.

The end goals of the corridor project include not only improved business and personal connectivity to Dubois County and the southern part of the state but also improved regional traffic safety, support for economic development in the southern part of the state and improved highway connectivity — all things the members of the coalition said Daviess County can help with.

“Daviess County provides a unique and advantageous opportunity for the Mid-States Corridor,” said Graber. “Not only does our close proximity to I-69 provide a great advantage for travelers, but it would also serve as a major transportation artery connection from northern Indiana to Kentucky, Nashville and as far south as Mobile, Alabama.”

Washington Mayor David Rhoads, who also serves on the coalition, said the opening of I-69 has also lowered the crash rate in the county, making Daviess County one of the safest for travel within the region.

“As an elected official, it is my job to prioritize our constituency’s safety and one of the main benefits of the Mid-States Corridor is to improve regional safety. Daviess County is ready to be that positive presence in the state of Indiana and we invite this development to our region and county,” said Rhoads.

Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Joe Morris said with over 2,000 businesses in the county as well as several popular outdoor recreation destinations, the connectivity the Mid-States Corridor would provide would also be good for not only businesses but also tourism.

“Southern Indiana is known as a destination for outdoor recreation. This would boost tourism to new heights,” said Morris. “Cars and RVs are replacing airplanes making us even more of a destination.”

Niehoff is quick to point out that Daviess Driven is more than just a campaign though.

“It’s an initiative that brings focus and awareness to the Mid-States Corridor and how Daviess County is a valuable and vital player in bringing this project to fruition,” he said. “In Daviess County, we offer opportunities that bring business growth and development, enhanced quality of life and place and increased tourism, hospitality and safety all the while emphasizing the most cost effective variables with our close proximity to I-69.”

Also serving on the Advance Daviess County Coalition are Daviess County Commissioner Nathan Gabhart, Montgomery Town Council’s Michael Healy, Daviess-Martin REMC General Manager Bill Schmidt, German American Financial Center Manager David Stowers and Grant Swartzentruber of Swartzentruber Brown and Regional Title Service.

For more information on Advance Daviess County Coalition, Daviess Driven or the Mid-States Corridor Project, visit www.advancedaviesscounty. com.
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