“We’ve gotten more interest from site selectors in the last two months,” Hipskind said. “Because it will be so much easier to make that trip from Fort Wayne to Lafayette, it has made the location of Logansport and Cass County seem easier to get to than it used to.”
CLEDO’s membership in two multi-county economic development organizations is contributing to efforts to bring more businesses to the region, including along the soon-to-be-completed highway, Hipskind said.
And while a business may only develop in one county, Hipskind said the positive effects can be experienced across the region.
“There is a pattern of people in the region that do commute, so if there is a new industry or a new business in one of the counties, it tends to benefit all attached counties,” he said.
Realizing these mutual benefits, Hipskind said the organizations within the partnership communicate closely to help a business establish in one of its partnering counties, should their own lack the right demographics, rail access, buildings or other requirements.
“There have been some companies looking at the regional area because of the Hoosier Heartland and it’s a matter now of who’s got the inventory, buildings and manpower that can staff whatever facility they’re considering,” he said.
Local economic development along the highway has already started, most recently with the groundbreaking of Sagamore Warehouse LLC, a fertilizer facility at 2179 Stoney Pike.
The ribbon cutting event later this month will include a luncheon at the Logansport-Cass County Airport and a caravan along the highway. While the Indiana Department of Transportation has yet to release a date on the final portion of the highway’s official opening, Weatherwax said he is expecting it to be before the ribbon cutting, allowing the caravan to join drivers already using the new road.