The Franklin County Economic Development Commission met briefly Monday morning, bringing up a handful of updates from around the county.

President John Palmer mentioned a company of around 16 employees has recently closed but he wished to maintain privacy for the owner and former employees. He’s talked to state officials about a list of possible employers for those affected, saying there are processes to help people find similar jobs (i.e., at Owens Corning or in Connersville and Batesville). The vacated building will be evaluated by a real estate agent and a price should be up on the county website soon.

Palmer and member Jessica Hansel each provided updates on the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP). Brookville Town Council president Bridget Hayes, also on the HELP core team, hosted an interactive meeting at the Schilling Center March 6. Hansel noted about 20 attendees and four posterboards filled with public input about improvements in the town and county.

A pathway team meeting was to be held Tuesday at the government center led by Purdue University’s Roberto Gallardo, focusing on e-connectivity. Gallardo was to speak to the team about identifying projects and how to accomplish them, taking cues from previous public meetings.

Palmer thought this specific path was simplest on its surface due to broadband expansion already moving swiftly across the county. Areas not upgraded by the end of the year will become a priority in 2024. Other issues are business owners learning how to best utilize the net for their operations and making computer hardware more accessible to those with lesser resources. Two more online meetings are scheduled around this pathway.

Hansel, as Brookville’s representative, brought the board up to speed on the PreservINg Main Street façade project. 

Architects are currently putting together construction documents; once received, that will lead to a pre-bid meeting between the town and Administrative Resources association, Columbus. Public bidding process will ensue. General contractors will bid on the entire project, then let some work to subcontractors for things like masonry and woodworking. Main Street Brookville and the town were compiling subcontractor information so it’s readily available during the process.

After original planning and cost estimates that were purposely set a little higher, a total of 11 property owners/buildings on Main were accepted into the program. Since, at least one owner has decided not to participate. Property owners will need to pay just 5% of the cost per building and possibly a bit more for cost overruns and/or change orders.

“A lot is up in the air until we get these very detailed cost estimates back,”said Hansel. “But I think it’l be very transformational. I’ve seen renderings and I just hope it’s a domino effect.”

Other items were discussed. 

Brookville’s Main Street recently received national accreditation, in the process “leveling up.” Hansel had met with ARa, Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs, members of Main Street Brookville and Hayes about what this entails beyond increased grant opportunities. “There was a lot of collaborative work …what (everyone’s) done with other organizations and communities speaks volumes for their character,”added Hansel.

There were a couple financial housekeeping items cleared up. EDC had consulting money to share, so Palmer budgeted about $7,500 for six Area Plan Commission employees or board members to receive training via an online course. The county contract with Nick Lawrence/The Wheatley Group for economic development consulting has been modified; instead of Lawrence making routine trips to Franklin County, he will bill hourly for services rendered up to a total of $40,000. Palmer felt the actual number won’t be “anywhere near that.”

Hansel announced a Brookville job opening for Class II Wastewater Operator; applications found at can be submitted until March 18.