NEW ALBANY — Construction for Floyd County's innovation park is officially underway.

The Floyd County Commissioners approved MAC Construction & Excavating's bid of $3,535,000 for phase 1 construction of the park which includes infrastructure — water and sewer lines and road extension. Phase 2 will be bid later this year.

Don Lopp, director of county operations, said construction will begin in the next few weeks. The official groundbreaking ceremony is Sept. 17.

Floyd County already bonded its half of the $6 million matching grant, recently received from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

The innovation and technology park will sit on 60 acres in Georgetown Township and is expected to create 50 jobs. The county also plans on revealing the name of the park soon.

"I think it's awesome. There is nothing like this around here," Commissioners' President Billy Stewart said. "It's a high tech park with good paying jobs."

Stewart said county officials are talking to a company to be the anchor of the park, but is not able to reveal its name yet. He said if that company relocates to the innovation park, others will follow.

"We want to take business away from Louisville, Indianapolis, Nashville ... we want them to come here," he said.

Lopp said the hope is to have the park completed late next year. A big portion of the infrastructure work will include building a railroad overpass, part of phase 2 construction.

BRIDGE 9 UPDATE

Construction plans for Bridge 9, on Atkins Road, are moving forward. The county has reached agreement to purchase right-of-way with three of four land owners affected near the bridge.

ADDITIONAL PAVING

The commissioners approved contracts for additional paving this year. Libs Paving was awarded a $23,800 bid to pave a section of Paoli Pike; C&R Paving was awarded a bid of $12,170 for Baylor Wisman Road and Walts Road; and Striegel Paving was awarded $10,000 for Banet Road paving.

DUNHAM HONORED

Rauch, Inc. CEO Bettye Dunham was honored by the commissioners with a county proclamation during Tuesday's meeting. Dunham is retiring after 27 years of leading the organization.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

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