A major agricultural processor is looking to build a facility in the region, and the Milford area has made it through to the final round of consideration.
The 270 acres of farmland immediately northeast of Milford Junction are owned by several people and corporations, including BRTB Investments and CSX.
The company’s key site criteria, according to George Robertson, president of the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, is two-directional railway. The company brings in 110-car unit trains and would heavily utilize both the CSX and Northfolk Southern tracks that intersect just north of the town.
Only a handful of sites in Indiana have both north-south and east-west rail lines in close proximity. The other sites in the running for the new construction are in Ohio and in another Indiana location.
Officials from the company have visited the property a number of times since the selection process began 10 months ago, Robertson said.
“They’re in the final step of the process now, which involves discussions with the railroad about rail weights. It’s frustrating because this is a part of the process I can’t be involved in. But we think we’re in pretty good shape.”
In anticipation of this company or other future development on the site, KEDCo officials have also spoken with county officials about fast-tracking a tax increment financing district should the deal be inked.
Robertson also appeared before the Milford Redevelopment Commission Monday morning to ask if the commission would consider working with the county to develop one of the roads that would be heavily used by the company. Because the town recently annexed a large property just south of the one the agricultural company is looking at, such a project would make both properties more attractive for industrial development.
Robertson added KEDCo has also spoken with the county redevelopment commission about improving one of the roads that run between Syracuse and Milford and extending it to SR 15. Doing so would provide a direct route from Syracuse to Milford.
Because east-west train traffic has the right of way over northbound and southbound trains, KEDCo is also recommending that an overpass be built over the Norfolk Southern line.
“We think that will really help traffic in the area. Residents won’t have to wait either, for north-south trains that back up there waiting for the east-west trains to clear.” Milford submitted a grant proposal last year for the construction of the overpass.
The company in question would not require municipal water or sewer, Robertson said. It would build a circular rail track on the property, and bring 70 to 80 jobs to the area.