A historical marker now stands on the site of one of downtown Knox’s first commercial structures. The Koffel Building at the corner of Main and Lake Streets was completed in 1891, a year before the city’s streets were paved with brick, four years before municipal electrical service was offered and 17 years before city water was available. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver says drug stores were a vital part of a booming business district.
“Always in the drugstore the fountain was a big thing. From the very beginning there were tables where it was appropriate for the ladies to come in to have coffee, tea or a soft drink or whatever from the fountain. That became quite a social center in the day.” Continue reading
Sysco hasn’t given up plans to build an expansion to its national operation near the intersection of U.S. 35 and 30. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charles Weaver told the Hamlet Town Board last night that the company does not currently intend to offer for sale the land it owns near Hamlet. Continue reading
Knox City Council
The Knox City Council agreed to donate funds to build a gazebo for the Serenity Garden project.
Knox High School students will be planting trees, flowers, and other plants in the green space at the corner of Lake and Main Streets in the downtown area. Don White, who is a member of the Starke County Economic Development Board of Directors, presented the council members with an idea for a sturdier structure for a gazebo at that location.
Starke County returned to the top 10 in terms of unemployment in January.
Ron Gifford from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation said that all 92 counties went up by an average of 1.1% per county, but the state as a whole only went up 0.1%. Starke County reported an unemployment rate of 9.0 percent and was ranked seventh in the state. Pulaski County had an employment rate of 6.3 percent and ranked 52nd in the state. Marshall County reported 6.2 percent.
A skills gap is being blamed for the lack of progress in Indiana’s economic recovery. According to the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition, career and technical education for youth and the lack of credential attainment among the state’s adult workforce, are needing attention.
The Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning Center or SCILL Center, is ahead of the curve with providing opportunities for adults and students to gather skills needed to be a productive member of the adult workforce. Ron Gifford from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation said officials recognized one gap about three years ago.
City officials, Ball State students, chamber of commerce, and economic development representatives from across the state of Indiana recently attended the Indiana Economic Development course at Ball State University which focused on the theory and practice of economic development.
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) Board of Directors met recently to discuss the past, present and future of the organization.
One concern that the board members felt that needed improvement was communication with the public. SCEDF Executive Director Charlie Weaver stated that what they are doing is not secretive and work done by the organization could be more transparent.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers updated the city council last week on the Blight Elimination Program.
The city received a grant for $187,000 that will aid in the cost of removing blighted,vacant and abandoned homes in the city. A majority of the homes on the list are in the Parkview Heights area.
Mayor Chambers explained that the state does not want the purchased properties for demolition under this grant in the name of the city. They want a holding company that is not associated with the city. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver said the city could use the development foundation as a holding company. City Attorney David Matsey will draft a Memorandum of Understanding with the development foundation to hold those properties for three years.
Starke County officials cut the ribbon to officially open the intersection of State Road 8 and County Road 300 East.
The intersection of State Road 8 and Starke County Road 300 East now has turn lanes, guardrails, acceleration and deceleration lanes. Members of the Starke County Council, County Commissioners and Starke County Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors celebrated the completion of the project with a ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday morning.
“This was extremely dangerous before for trucks and motor vehicles to come to pass. They couldn’t make the turns. If a truck wanted to go toward 35 from 300, they crossed both travel lanes into the berm,” Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver said. Continue reading
A major Starke County road project is substantially complete. Members of the county council and commissioners and officials from the Starke County Economic Development Commission will celebrate the reconstruction of the intersection of State Road 8 and 300 East later today. The intersection has been rebuilt to accommodate traffic to and from the Knox Industrial Park. It now features a turn lane and acceleration and deceleration lanes to help trucks more easily navigate the corner. Continue reading
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is seeking a $15,000 grant to plan for future workforce needs through the SCILL Center. Executive Director Charlie Weaver says they are looking at the cost of implementing vocational and adult automation robotics equipment maintenance programs. He says there is a growing need for that skill set in manufacturing settings. Continue reading
The former Stelrema building on U.S. 35 north of Knox will soon be ready for occupancy. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Special Projects Coordinator Ron Gifford says it was recently sold to the Michigan man who owns the Freeman Products building at the corner of 300 East and Culver Road. Continue reading
Marv Peters is the 2014 Robert E. Hamilton Award Winner
A longtime North Judson resident and businessman is the recipient of the Robert E. Hamilton Award from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation. Marv Peters was one of the initial members of the Starke County Development Foundation in 1985. He owned Marv’s Body Shop in North Judson from 1966 until his retirement in 1999 and continues to work on antique cars today. Peters is also the president of the North Judson Board of Zoning Appeals and serves as a member of the Starke County Alcoholic Beverage Board. He was president of the North Judson Town Council from 1979-83. Continue reading
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) is looking to bring life back into the vocational building on the Oregon-Davis school campus to begin an automation robotics and equipment maintenance program as an extension of vocational programs through the SCILL Center.
According to Ron Gifford, the SCEDF will assist in seeking a way to fund the program full-time and to acquire equipment. A pilot program started this year with several students in the eighth grade through the tenth grade enrolled in the program.
Students from Starke County’s three school corporations will get a firsthand look at local job opportunities during the upcoming Manufacturers Day at Knox Middle School. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is bringing together 7th grade students and representatives from local industries and SCILL on Thursday, Oct. 2. They will have displays of what their company manufacturers, the skills and training required for each job at the company and the kinds of jobs they have and will also be available to answer questions. Continue reading
The Starke County Economic Development Foundation will celebrate Manufacturers Day with its fourth annual “Prospectus and Achievements” on Thursday, Oct. 2 at Knox Middle School. Hoosier Custom Plastics and EcoGolf Co-Owner Gordon Schenk will be the featured speaker for the 11:10 a.m. program. The Knox-based business is involved in the Folds of Honor Foundation. It provides scholarships and assistance to the spouses and children of those killed or disabled in service to America. Schenk will explain how the businesses became involved with the organization. Continue reading
The unemployment numbers for Starke County continue to decrease.
Ron Gifford from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation said the numbers have been quite encouraging.
“Since January of this year, we’ve seen our labor force grow by almost three hundred more people out there actively seeking a position,” said Gifford. “There’s almost five hundred more people employed than there were in January and the ranks of our unemployed have depleted down by about 180. They’re actually finding jobs and the people that had been out of the job market for some period of time apparently are coming back to it.”
The Executive Director of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation will serve as one of 13 judges for the South Shore Wall of Legends and Legends Scholarship Project.
Charlie Weaver will help select inductees from among several who are nominated each year. The Wall of Legends is located at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond and honors people from northwest Indiana who have changed the world and reflect the values of exploration and courage and innovation.
This year’s induction ceremony will be held on Dec. 18 at 5:30 p.m. CT at the welcome center.
The Starke County Commissioners Monday approved a $70,000 change order to add a right turn lane to the rebuilt intersection of State Road 8 and County Road 300 East. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver said it was omitted from the original project specifications in order to keep costs in order. Continue reading
An engineering design team from North Judson-based Thermo Pride is a nominee for a prestigious award from the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation nominated director of engineering Everett James and project engineer Michael Sharkozy for the Team Innovators Award for their application of an existing technology to a new process. By doing so, they created an extremely safe, ultra-high efficiency oil-fired furnace for residential and commercial heating. Continue reading