Duke donation boosts industrial park

SOUTH WHITLEY — An industrial park with shovel-ready sites along Hathaway Drive and Williams Way in South Whitley is becoming a reality.Kevin Neal, director of wholesale relations for Duke Energy Indiana, the town’s electrical supplier, awarded a $5,000 check to Alan Tio, president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, at Tuesday evening’s town council meeting which will be used to develop the site.The work will include an environmental site assessment, land surveys, wetland delineation, site infrastructure and associated engineering, which is expected to be completed by summer. Shovel-ready sites are more appealing and convenient for prospective businesses, particularly manufacturers, to build on the property, according to Alan Tio, president of the Whitley County Economic Development. With an estimated budget of $15,000, once the location is certified, the state will reimburse half of the costs.“I appreciate the chance to speak to the council again and work with Duke Energy on an on-going project to prepare the South Whitley Industrial Park,” Tio said. “Duke is very active at the state level, but also working outside the state, across the country, and also around the world to market Indiana.”“Duke tries to be very, very supportive to the communities and tries to grow business, in Indiana especially,” Neal said. “(We) understand the importance of helping the communities we serve improve opportunities for economic growth.“Once the site is declared shovel-ready, we will continue to promote for businesses to locate (here). South Whitley and its leaders have already proven to be a welcoming community for a number of industries, and we are pleased to help them build on their success.”“We appreciate Duke Energy’s vision for economic development,” Tio said. “Like so many other rural Indiana communities that do not benefit from four-lane highway access, a project like this one is critical to South Whitley’s ability to compete for economic development projects.”The grant is made possible through Duke Energy’s Community Growth Partnership Grant Program and is aimed at generating new jobs and capital investment in Indiana.The EDC works closely with local, regional and state partners to support industry clients’ growth and success. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Columbia City, Churubusco, Larwill and South Whitley.