For years officials in Daviess County contended that one of the biggest obstacles to economic growth was the lack of an interstate highway through the community. They spent decades lobbying state and federal officials for what they first called the Mid-Continent Highway, a project that later came to be known as I-69. “You have no idea how many times we had a prospect ready to go and then they looked at our transportation and backed out,” said former Daviess County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dave Cox.
That transportation hurdle began to disappear one year ago when the state cut the ribbon opening I-69 from Evansville to Crane. “It’s really a big deal,” said Cox. “Communities within 15 miles of an interstate in the midwest are the ones that grow.”
Daviess County officials say they are already beginning to see that economic growth. They estimate more than $38 million in projects have begun in the area in the past year. “We have added 12 projects in the last year,” said Ron Arnold with the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation. “I think you can say that the highway has been a positive factor in those decisions, and we have more people talking with us about other projects.”
The development includes a 50,000 square foot expansion at MacAllister Caterpillar, the new Alliance Barrier Films plant, and an expansion of Maysville Enterprises warehouse operation in the Washington area. “This year we have seen several projects come together that represent excellent win-win successes,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Tony Wichman.
Further north The Indiana Rail Road Company has opened a new transload facility that will tie rail to the interstate near Odon and more rail connected projects are on the drawing board.
“We are working on a project that involves rail and we would not be getting any of the traction we are now seeing if it wasn’t for I-69,” said Arnold.