ANDERSON — City officials have made the proposed Purdue College of Technology and Flagship Maker Space a priority for the use of $11.2 million in Community Revitalization Enhancement District funds.
The Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CRED) Commission on Thursday approved a resolution to commit to the use of the funds for the construction of the facility on the current Plant 18 site on Scatterfield Road.
Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said the project is an opportunity to leverage significant economic development growth in the future.
He said the city will generate $750,000 in CRED funds as a result of the development of the AutoWorld car dealerships in the district.
If approved in the future by the CRED Commission and Anderson City Council, a 15-year bond will be issued to construct the new facility.
Purdue University has agreed to sign a 15-year lease for the space.
David Umpleby, bond counsel, said the money will be in the form of a loan to the Flagship Enterprise Center and be repaid by the CRED revenues.
He said the city is not obligated to repay the bonds and only the CRED revenues are pledged.
Winkler said the money has to be spent in the district.
Rick Zachary, commission member, said he supports any project that rebuilds the manufacturing base in the United States.
Commission member Kevin Sulc said this is the most important project the commission could be involved with.
“This is one way we can make a meaningful contribution to this community,” Pete Heuer, chairman of the commission, said. “This will provide educational opportunities for our children for many years to come.”
“This will give students the ability to get hands-on experience with the latest technology,” Winkler said.
He said students from Purdue, Anderson University, Ivy Tech Community College and Anderson Community Schools will learn how to use and apply the equipment in the Maker Space.
“We believe the programs will leverage jobs and future investment in the community,” Winkler said.
The project is included in a U.S. Economic Development Agency plan for the region, which includes Muncie, Anderson and New Castle.
“This will allow economic development growth in the region,” he said. “Manufacturers are telling us they can’t find the people they need to run today’s production equipment.”
Chuck Staley, CEO of the Flagship Enterprise Center, said the project is a collaborative effort.
“This is a game changer for our community,” he said. “We are preparing our labor force for economic development opportunities in the future.”
Staley said the project brings together manufacturing, education and entrepreneurs in one location.
Winkler said the CRED dollars could be used for a number of projects, but the recommendation is to focus on one project that would have a regional impact.
“This will take the old industrial heart of the city and make it vital again,” he said.
The city is in the process of obtaining the property through eminent domain from Hy-Tech Machining.
The plan is to demolish the entire Plant 18 office and manufacturing space to make room for the new 94,100-square-foot building.
The facility will include classroom space for the Purdue College of Technology and industrial manufacturing space. The manufacturing space will occupy 53 percent of the building.
The manufacturing space will be the location for a 3D printing area and private work areas for developing companies.
The new facility is expected to begin operations in 2016. There has been no estimate of construction costs.