New Indiana law allows creation of ‘innovation development districts’
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers have created a new tool to try to bring more businesses to Indiana.
Senate Enrolled Act 361 allows the state to create “innovation development districts”. These districts capture some tax revenue that remains within the district to finance new development, explained Mark Wasky, senior vice president of community affairs for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
According to state and local officials, one of these new boroughs could be in western Boone County.
“This land is ready for that kind of new development to come,” said Chassity Neckers of the Boone County Economic Development Corporation.
According to Wasky, the state is in talks with landowners for a potential purchase of 4,000 to 7,000 acres of land along Interstate 65, west of Lebanon. The state has received corporate interest in Boone County, Wasky added, but it is unknown what new development could be built on that land.
“Right off I-65, which is one of the reasons Boone County has grown, is our proximity to Lafayette, to Chicago, to Indy,” Neckers said of the land the state might try to buy. .
One option for the land is to turn it into an innovation development district, Neckers and Wasky said.
“I’d say what it allows us to do is work with a certain level of speed and flexibility,” Wasky said.
Some have raised concerns about local control within these districts. Wasky point Local revenues remain within the community, describing the districts as forms of partnership between the state and local governments.
Earlier this week, Governor Eric Holcomb said he believes the economic development options approved by lawmakers at this session will help make the state more competitive for new business structures.
“We are in an unprecedented position to compete for some of the largest projects in the world,” said Holcomb. “And we have to be ready to do it.”
The state has not yet selected areas to officially become innovation development districts, Wasky said.
Some residents are concerned about a potential redevelopment project in Boone County. An online petition calling for the bailout of farmland has received more than 1,500 signatures as of Friday afternoon.