IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: RDA commits to South Shore Expansion

2014-02-08T13:21:00Z IIB WEEK IN REVIEW: RDA commits to South Shore ExpansionGerry Dick Inside Indiana Business nwitimes.com
February 08, 2014 1:21 pm  • 

RDA Commits to South Shore Expansion

Efforts to expand commuter rail in northwest Indiana are receiving a huge boost. The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is committing $8 million a year to match local funds to expand the South Shore Rail Line from Munster to Chicago. If built, the West Lake Corridor is expected to handle approximately 5,600 riders, which the RDA says would be a 40 percent increase in the number of passengers who currently take the South Shore into Chicago.

South Shore Unveils Brewery Trail

Indiana's growing craft beer industry is getting more visibility. The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority has launched a brewery trail, featuring nine local beer makers. Crown Point-based Crown Brewing General Manager Chris Stanek says Northwest Indiana is becoming a brewing hub in part because of nearby training schools and "good brewing water." He believes the trail will "pull people off the highway" and benefit nearby stores and attractions as well.

Mainstreet Unveils Major Growth Plans

Carmel-based Mainstreet Property Group LLC has outlined an ambitious three-year growth plan. The company believes the projects will result in 3,000 permanent jobs and an economic impact of about $3 billion. Mainstreet plans new rehabilitation and therapy centers this year in Terre Haute, South Bend, Kokomo, Lafayette and Indianapolis.

Report: Dumping Personal Property Tax 'No Easy Task'

A new report from the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute examines the potential effects of proposals that would cut the business personal property tax. The findings suggest "complicating factors" such as the property tax caps that were put in place in 2008. Many cities and towns have voiced opposition to House and Senate bills that could phase out the tax.

River Ridge Lands Another Big Deal

A Swiss automotive technology manufacturer has announced plans to add around 220 workers at a new facility in Jeffersonville. Autoneum intends to locate the operation in River Ridge Commerce Center and begin production next year. The company joins major tenants including Amazon.com Inc., Standard Register and Catamaran Corp. that have announced expansions and commitments to approximately 2,000 jobs at the 6,000-acre center within the last two years.

I&M Unveils $500 Million Project

Indiana Michigan Power Co. is pumping $500 million into improvements in the greater Fort Wayne area. The "Powering Up Northeast Indiana"

initiative involves new and upgraded transmission lines and substations in several counties including Allen, DeKalb and Huntington. The utility expects the project to have a "minimal effect" on customer rates. I&M says construction has already begun and will likely take six to eight years.

Popcorn Maker Moving HQ

Weaver Popcorn Co. Inc. has announced plans to relocate its Noblesville headquarters to Whitestown. The company intends to retain 50 employees and could add 40 more once it takes over the Boone County facility.

State Ag Leaders Laud Farm Bill

Indiana's top agricultural officials are supporting a Farm Bill approved by Congress. Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann says it provides certainty for Hoosier farmers. Indiana Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney says the measure contains new block grants that benefit specialty crop farmers.

New Fund Builds on Partnership

A new collaboration between Purdue University and Cook Medical is part of a larger effort to support the school's life sciences startups and move innovation to the public more quickly. Purdue Research Foundation President Dan Hasler tells Inside INdiana Business the $12 million fund is another addition to the "building ecosystem" at Purdue.

Economic Group Taps IEDC Exec as President

The Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance has named Charlie Sparks chief executive officer. He currently serves as vice president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Foreign-Trade Zone Grows

More Indiana counties have received a federal designation designed to boost international business opportunities. Blackford, Jay, LaGrange and Steuben counties are now part of the Northeast Indiana Foreign-Trade Zone. The initiative allows for goods to be brought into approved areas duty-free. The additions bring the total number of counties involved in the zone to 12.

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