Two major projects in Lebanon business are ready to start full operations, Dax Norton, director of the Boone County Economic Development Corporation, reported to the Lebanon City Council earlier this week.
Skjodt-Barrett and D-A Lubricants are both near completion, he said, and those are just two of the many projects Norton has had the opportunity to work on with the city council this year.
And thanks to this successful 2011 year, Norton said Lebanon is being talked about — in a positive way. At the annual conference for Indiana Economic Development, he said words like “momentum,” “active,” and “aggressive” were used to describe the city.
“Our peers are talking about us, and we’re scaring them by doing something right,” Norton said.
A focus for 2012, Norton said, will be to get developers to Lebanon to see the city before making a decision. Because Lebanon does not have a lot of existing buildings that companies can buy to use, many don’t even look at the location.
“Developers are gun-shy about using their own capital to build a building,” Norton said.
But he reminded the council of Medco. Its representatives came out to look at a building in the AllPoints at Anson area, and ended up building their own there instead. That first building eventually became the Amazon warehouse.
“If we can bring people here, it’s kind of a brochure,” Norton said.
Another big part of Lebanon’s business future will be attracting more people to the city, Norton explained. Large companies like to locate to an area that already has a wide base of skilled and well-educated people to hire, rather than having to import its own workforce. And, for Lebanon, that means increasing and diversifying its population.
“Are we willing to do that?” Norton asked the council.
Because, to attract new people, there need to be amenities in place or planned, Norton said, like pools, parks, trails, good streets and sidewalks.
“We continue to see the momentum in Lebanon,” Norton said. “Thank you for your support. And I think you’re going to see some pretty amazing things happen in 2012.”