It's a gateway to the North, but many hope I-69 is also a gateway to economic development. When you look out the window along I-69 all you see is concrete and fields. Now local developers are ready to make that change. "I want make sure that everyone in the community understands we are doing this with everyone's interest in mind," says Gibson County Economic Development Director Todd Mosby and other community leaders met today to discuss how to best develop business along the new Interstate. Most agree the decision is an important one, and one that will have a huge impact on the future of the area. "We're going to work and we are going to work to make sure this tool is used correctly. It is used to the benefit of the community, benefit of the communities around it, and so that nothing happens here that would be a detriment to the community," says Mosby."We believe as a regional university it really benefits us. What is important for Southwest Indiana is important for us, so we've taken the bull by the horns and being a catalyst for this initiative," says USI Provost and Outreach Associate Mark Bermhard. The I-69 expansion might be gearing up for new businesses, but places like Freudenberg Country Mart on Highway 57 have had to deal with the loss of business since the expansion."We figured the traffic being moved from the front door to a third of the mile away, we needed to encourage them to come this way," says Freudenberg. Freudenberg says his business will be fine, and he thinks the new I-69 will eventually help his business. "We still have a decent local business here from the people out from Elberfeld and half way to Lynville. I hope to see the industrial park about five times bigger than what it is now."
Mosby says there has not been a lot of people calling to ask about locating a business along I-69 so far, but he also says it is early in the process and community leaders want to have a plan in pace when the calls do start coming in.