34 Seek Food & Beverage Funds

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana www.thecouriertimes.com

34 seek Food & Beverage funds

Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 6:00 am

Thirty-four proposals totaling $8.6 million have been received for sharing the $2.4 million Food and Beverage Tax.

The Capital Projects Management Committee is winnowing them down and will make funding recommendations to the Henry County Council. That group met at the Henry County YMCA Monday and determined which projects they want to hear more about and which will need to wait for the next round of Food and Beverage funding or look elsewhere.

“The thing that we’ve got to remember is that there isn’t (a proposal) here that we couldn’t pick apart, so we’ve got to be careful and not just look at the bad,” committee member Richard Myers said at the onset of the review process.

Money comes from a 1 percent tax added to purchases in Henry County restaurants. It is available for projects that lend themselves to economic development or increasing tourism. 

“We’ve got to look at these projects and decide how we can make the biggest impact,” committee chair Aaron Benson said. “If we could fund them all we would, but we can’t, so we’re trying to narrow them down to the ones we think will will have the biggest impact.”

The committee decided to hear more about 10 projects. The entities making those funding requests will be invited to a meeting June 7. They will have 5 minutes to make a presentation followed by a 5-minute question-and-answer period. 

“We want to be able to make an educated decision. We want to be sure when we decide which projects should receive funds that we understand what the money is going for,” Benson said. “There may be cases where we can’t afford to fund them fully, so we need to ask them, for example, if we can only afford to give them 80 percent is that going to help?”

Projects the committee wants to hear from include the following:

New Castle Main Street organization for development of the Robert Indiana Arts & Culture Campus: $47,725

Henry County Memorial Park board for park improvements: $2,585,646

Henry County YMCA for a building expansion: $325,000

Ivy Tech for construction of a science wing: $500,000

Henry County Saddle Club for new stall gates and restroom upgrades: $208,427

Guyer Opera House for building renovations: $100,500

Henry County Emergency Management Agency for communication upgrades: $4,000

Henry County Cemetery Commission for heritage signs: $10,000

New Castle Parks Board for restroom upgrades, security enhancement and a skatepark: $335,248

Wilbur Wright Birthplace for solar and wind energy conversion systems: $49,500

Projects the committee wants more information about before deciding whether they will be invited to make a presentation include the Henry County Planning Commission for creation of a comprehensive plan, sports facility upgrades from Babe Ruth and the City of New Castle, the Henry County Redevelopment Commission for road upgrades, Lewisville Fire Department for a rescue truck, Healthy Communities of Henry County for Wilbur Wright Trail expansion, park improvement projects in Middletown and Cadiz, and requests from the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Hoosier Gym and the Henry County Convention and Visitors Bureau for billboard advertising.

The committee will next meet at 4:30 p.m. May 17 to further review the funding requests.

For information contact the Henry County Commissioners office at 765-529-4705.