Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Partnership across Stateline is a Historical First!

The Union City Community Economic Development Committee (UCCEDC) has helped kick-start a bit of history. Through the efforts of the UCCEDC, Randolph and Darke Counties have applied for the first-ever interstate Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Assessment grant. An agreement with the company performing the grant writing services (SME out of Maumee, OH) has just been signed by the four partners brought together on the project: The Darke County Commissioners, Randolph County Commissioners, and both Union City communities.

The agreement entered into with SME is believed to be the first ever that features signatures from all four of the partner’s legislative entities. According to Darke County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk, SME is writing the grant for the coalition at no charge because they like the story of the interstate collaboration and feel that the focus on Union City, a town straddling the state line that is focusing strongly on development efforts after decades of job loss, will sell well to EPA decision makers.

“SME has felt strongly that our story needed to be told ever since we first discussed the issue at my office,” explained Saluk. “They didn’t show up pushing this innovative collaboration. But after we discussed the history of the area, the UCCEDC’s efforts towards cooperation across the stateline, and found out that our two counties were in the same Federal EPA district, they jumped at the chance to write the grant.”

SME project leaders, along with Saluk and Randolph County Economic Development Director Kevin Law, pitched the idea to leaders on both sides of the state line and received positive feedback. In recent weeks, consultants have fanned out across both counties discussing local history, development efforts, industrial sites, and more with local officials. The grant will be submitted to the EPA in October and the UCCEDC will find out if the application has been approved during spring of 2011.

If approved, the subsequent assessment period could eventually lead to a million dollar grant for the four partners to put towards clean up of industrial sites, an effort that will contribute to job creation on both sides of the state line. Union City, Indiana will be the lead entity on the project due to City Manager and UCCEDC member Monte Poling’s experience in administering grant programs.

The UCCEDC was formed in 2005 to help create positive relations between the two adjoining Union City communities. Their efforts have resulted in several successful development projects and their mission has since spread to leaders throughout Darke and Randolph Counties.

Front row: Dick Wilcox; Marc Saluk, Director, Darke County Economic Development; Union City, Ind. Mayor Bryan Conklin; Rob Lykins, president UCCEDC; Darke Co. Commissioner Diane Delaplane; Randolph Co. Commissioner Bud Carpenter (not a UCCEDC member); UCO Councilman Bill Bruggeman; Kevin Law, Randolph Co. economic development director; back row, Kristen Oswalt, Randolph Co. tourism director; Angie Martin, R.C. economic development office; Jeff Painter, Cardinal Ethanol; Gene Marsh, Pacesetter Bank; Sandy Moore-UCO Council; Curt Brooks, Old National Bank; Dan Franks, Joy FM; Scott Stahl, former UCO mayor, and Mick Whistler, EUM Church

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