FREMONT — Fremont was in the limelight Friday for an accomplishment intended to boost economic development with a state certification only 93 other Indiana municipalities have.
Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann awarded Fremont with shovel-ready site certification for a 150-acre site on the north side of Swager Drive just east of Feather Valley Road. The ceremony was held at the Fremont Public Library and was attended by state and local leaders.
The certification is from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
“You all have location, location, location. This prepares you,” Ellspermann said. “It is so critical we have strong communities going forward. Thank you, Fremont and Steuben County. We’re looking for great things to happen.”
Fremont Town Manager Chris Snyder said was he thrilled what the shovel-ready certification means to the town and county. He highly praised his hometown, its schools, leaders, library, residents and friendly atmosphere, along with the county’s numerous amenties.
“I don’t know a business that wouldn’t want to locate here,” Snyder said. “We know this will give us a competitive advantage. We know this will be a positive step forward.”
Fremont’s is the 14th largest of the more than 90 shovel-ready sites in the state, said Dave Koenig, executive director of the Steuben County Economic Development Corp.
“There has been interest,” Koenig said about the site. “We have three serious prospects. Fremont did it right to accept the right project. Its says something about the Fremont entry.”
The SCEDC, working with funds provided by the county, has been working for some two years to get sites certified in the community. It now has two, Fremont and a 38-acre Hudson site.
Creation of the certification has been a long process, as Snyder said something of its magnitude has been in the works since the 1990s.
This summer, Fremont rezoned the 150 acres from multifamily housing to small business and light industrial to help in the process.
According to the state’s website, in.gov, the shovel-ready designation certifies sites ready for economic development. Communities apply for the designation through OCRA. Certified shovel-ready sites are featured on Indiana’s site selector database and will be included in Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s marketing materials. Site data for the certification is reviewed annually.
The following entities were acknowledged at the ceremony for helping gain the accomplishment: Steuben County Commissioners and Council, surveyor and Geographic Information System and highway departments; Fremont Town Council, plan commission, clerk-treasurer, town manager and police, street, water, wastewater and fire departments; Steuben County Rural Electric Membership Corp.; NIPSCO; Indiana Area Metropolitan Network; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Indiana Department of Transportation; Indiana Department of Workforce Development; Indiana Geological Survey; Region III-A Development & Regional Planning Committee; contractors Patriot Engineering & Environmental, Arcadis and Rowland & Associates; Marilyn Ernsberger, attorney; Guardian Title Co.; and property owners and representatives, Miklosko brothers represented by Dave Hardiek, Shirley and Harley Dodge and Shirlee and Martin Mitchell.