Ken De La Bastide, The Herald Bulletin
November 2, 2023
ANDERSON — There is a plethora of opportunities coming to Madison County when it comes to future development, according to Rob Sparks.
Sparks, with the Corporation for Economic Development, and Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, discussed issues facing the city and county Thursday with the Share and Prayer group.
“There are a lot of international companies looking to come to the United States for manufacturing opportunities,” Sparks said. “There will be a lot of investment from overseas looking at the Midwest because of the natural resources.”
He said one of the issues is how to move Madison County forward and develop the right workforce.
Sparks said this year the county organization has had 152 leads as compared to 165 a year ago and there have been 33 site visits, which surpasses the number from 2022.
“Right now, the market is hot,” he said. “Companies are ready to move forward bringing a variety of opportunities.”
Sparks speculated that corporations are going to become interested in developing the housing market.
Winkler said in the past year companies have invested $600 million in Anderson and have created 310 new jobs.
“We’re working with six different projects that could bring an investment of $700 million and the creation of 700 jobs,” he said.
“Wages are increasing to the $25 per hour range,” Winkler said. “One prospective company will pay $40 per hour.”
He said the tax increment financing district will have between $350 million and $400 million in the future to address the infrastructure needs of Anderson.
“We have to provide quality housing,” Winkler said. “The Anderson Redevelopment Commission, Anderson Corporation Development Commission is working with Habitat for Humanity to build houses on the blight elimination properties.”
He said the goal is to build up to a dozen houses per year in the city’s core to attract private investment.
“This will start to break the cycle of poverty,” Winkler said. “We want to make this city where people want to come to live and work.”
He said there is a developer interested in constructing 120 houses along Lindberg Road and has purchased the former Dolphin Club property.
“They need a $2 million to $4 million investment in infrastructure to make the project financially sustainable,” Winkler said. “If we can get the City Council to expand the tax increment financing district to the area, it can be done. It’s a project we can do, but it has to be a community decision.”