BORDEN – The town of Borden anticipates growth in the coming years, including developments aimed at attracting tourists and residents, and it hopes to receive a grant that will bring millions of dollars to the southern region of the Indiana.
The city of Borden has several projects included in the plan submitted by the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority for the Indiana Regional Development Initiative (READI) grant.
Earlier this month, the state announced that the region would receive $ 50 million in READI funding for projects in the five counties included in the RDA, which include Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott and Washington counties.
Brenna LaDuke, community coordinator for the city of Borden, said the city submitted three projects to the RDA and two were selected from the 18 priority projects submitted to the state in the regional plan. The city has requested $ 4.5 million for projects included in the READI grant.
“For a small town of just over 800, having two submissions in a five-county GDR – we thought that was a big deal,” LaDuke said. “It’s an honor.”
She notes that it is not clear how the $ 50 million will be allocated to projects included in Our Southern Indiana’s READI plan, and Our Southern Indiana will receive more guidance at the start of the year.
One of the projects in the plan is Star Valley Destinations, which involves a variety of projects aimed at attracting tourism to the city. Star Valley refers to the area north of Starlight Indiana, at the base of Star Valley Way, a road connecting Starlight and Borden.
Muddy Fork Reservoir, a planned 184-acre lake, is an important part of the city’s tourism plans. The planned recreational site will border the north side of Borden Community Park.
The Muddy Fork Reservoir Conservancy encountered obstacles in obtaining the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, which is necessary to begin development of the project. The hope is that the READI grant will allow conservation to go ahead with the permit.
The reservoir will feature a number of amenities including fishing, windsurfing, walking / biking trails, and horseback riding, and it will also serve as a local water source and regional emergency water source. .
“It will be fishing boats and non-motorized boats, and ultimately it will be a source of water for our region, which we feel is necessary,” said LaDuke. “We’ve partnered up with the Borden-Tri County Water Company, and they’re going to set up a plant on the front of it. “
The development of the Star Valley Event Center, a multi-purpose building planned on the south side of Borden Community Park, is a major component of the destinations component. The facility will include a tourist office, event / meeting space, internal / external toilets, kitchen / concessions area. It will be next to the park’s amphitheater, which is under construction.
The city requested $ 500,000 for the event center and a permit for the lake.
Borden’s second project described in the READI plan focuses on infrastructure. The plan is to upgrade the city’s sewage treatment plant and repair sewer lines throughout the city and along the Star Valley Way, which would connect to local businesses, including Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant. , Huber’s Orchard & Winery, Smith Creek, Inc. and Koetter Woodworking.
“The sources of funding for sewerage are non-existent for us, so when the READI grant came in we were already working on a feasibility study to see if that was an option,” LaDuke said. “It really worked together where with the READI plan it would be a great project that it would be funded for because we can’t get other sources.”
The city has requested $ 4 million for infrastructure projects. As soon as Borden receives funding for sewer upgrades, it will be ready to go, according to LaDuke.
According to the READI plan, the projects proposed by Star Valley Destinations are expected to bring in $ 1,019,192 in new tax revenues, $ 5,157,674 in economic output and impact, 80 new direct and indirect jobs and $ 1,248,777 in new salaries in total.
The sewer project is expected to add $ 3.8 million in new tax revenue, $ 37 million in economic output, 463 new and indirect jobs, $ 18,903,029 in total new wages and 89 housing units.
The development of Star Valley Way, which opened in 2015, was one of the largest single highway projects completed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, LaDuke said. It opened up many opportunities for the city.
The updated sewer lines would move a number of projects forward, including a “build-ready” hotel that would be located along Star Valley Way. The plan is also to set up small retail stores at the bottom of the hill along the road, and there is a potential of 100 to 200 homes in the area, LaDuke said.
There are also plans to revitalize the Borden Historical Museum, which is managed by the Wood Township Trustee, but it was not included in the READI plan.
In addition to the amphitheater and event center, the city has other plans to improve Borden Community Park, including the addition of a dog park and a softball field for the Borden Sunshine Gang, a program that brings together the elderly from the region. Recently, a new pedestrian bridge has been added to the park.
LaDuke said that when the READI grant opportunity presented itself, it brought towns, villages and the five counties together to build “unprecedented trust between all of us.”
“It means a lot to us because we are a bit like the little town in western Clark County that is unrecognized by anything,” she said. “To be part of the bigger unit, not just Clark and Floyd with SoIN, but to be part of all five counties and everything – I think out of all 18 projects, I think we’re the most small community – sometimes we’re like, wow, we made it.
Huber’s Orchard & Winery, Starlight Distillery and Joe Huber’s are already tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, according to LaDuke.
The Muddy Fork Reservoir would be an addition to other outdoor destinations in Borden, including the 24,000-acre Clark State Forest and the Deam Lake State Recreation Area, which includes a 194-acre lake.
Creating the South Monon Freedom Trail, a project also included in Our Southern Indiana’s READI plan, would also be a big deal for the city. The trail would be an extension of the Ohio River Greenway and connect Floyd, Clark, Washington, Orange, and Lawrence counties. There would be a trailhead in Borden Community Park across from Muddy Fork Lake planned.
Trails are also planned to connect Muddy Fork to Deam Lake and a trail leading to the Clark County Forest, LaDuke said.
“Borden is a really huge piece for the trail center here in Southern Indiana,” she said.
Star Valley Destinations’ plan is to establish a “length of stay,” LaDuke said.
“So people don’t come to the cellar and just spend a day,” she said. “If we can build that length of stay, they go up to the cellar, they go down and do their shopping, they go to the park and the lake and they offer bikes.”
Wendy Dant Chesser, CEO of One Southern Indiana, is also a part of the RDA leadership team, and she is impressed with the planning the city of Borden has put in place in Star Valley’s plans over the years. years, which were in preparation before the READI grant became available.
“They have the opportunity to tap into the destination that is Starlight and become a larger, more fulfilling destination that includes the entire Star Valley community,” she said.
The city of Borden has “a lot of gains” from a number of READI plans, she said.
“From a population growth perspective, we know that the quality of place is a factor that helps people determine where they want to live,” said Chesser. “The more opportunities and options they have to live in Southern Indiana, the better off they will be.”
“Some are going to live in more urban settings and want to be able to walk, and others want more rural settings, but they also want the convenience that comes with expectations these days,” she said. “What Borden’s plans give is a unique rural community with an element of walking and livability that will attract people to live in Southern Indiana. “
LaDuke said READI’s funding for these projects would be a big milestone for the city and region.
“For the city, it would be monumental if the city could get this funding, and it would bring it more income and allow the city to be more self-reliant,” she said. “We’re not getting the funding that other cities are getting. Everyone is very enthusiastic about bringing more economic development to the city, helping businesses that already exist.