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Projects in works to fill rest of commerce park

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped companies from wanting to bring jobs to Crawfordsville.

Despite the economic concerns caused by the coronavirus, the city was on the radar of dozens of companies looking to expand their operations and officials are actively working on a “handful” of solid projects for the Crawfordsville Commerce Park.

If the city attracts the companies the park will be full, Mayor Todd Barton said Tuesday during his State of the City address.

“It seems almost surreal to say that as the development was slow to get started, but once we found our formula for success we have been able to locate some very good projects in the park,” Barton said.

The park was declared “shovel-ready” for projects more than a decade ago, but the city struggled for years to attract companies. Economic development specialists were brought in to market the sites and the city sought advice from site selectors and commercial real estate brokers.

In recent years, companies including Autism therapy services provider K1ds Count and the American Flow Control Center for Innovative Excellence have opened facilities in the park. Ivy Tech Community College came in 2013.

The latest projects in the works are mostly in the light manufacturing sector, said Cheryl Morphew, the city and county’s economic development consultant.

Two remaining smaller parcels near the park’s northern entrance would be ideal for professional services, Morphew added.

While filling the commerce park would achieve a longtime goal of the city, there remains a lack of industry-ready existing buildings.

Of the more than 50 leads received in 2020 — consistent with previous years despite the pandemic — the city could only meet the specifications for nine companies, Barton said in the address.

Morphew said officials will be looking at other land opportunities for new and existing companies.

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