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The 60-acre park consists of 14 lots, from one acre to four acres in size, with an anchoring tenant to be named later this year.

NEW ALBANY — Not even Old Man Winter can slow progress on the first phase of construction on Novaparke Innovation & Technology Campus in Georgetown.

Phase one will consist of road, water and sewer line work, which is expected to be completed in April. MAC Construction & Excavating is completing the work after submitting a bid of $3,535,000. A matching grant of $3 million was also received from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration for phase two, which will see the installation of an overpass for the railroad tracks. All the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

"They will work through winter," Don Lopp, director of Floyd County operations, said.

Lopp hopes to have the phase two request for bids go out in January and possibly award a bid in March.

The 60-acre technology park is expected to bring 400 new jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] fields to Southern Indiana over the next decade.

Lopp said county officials are still working to secure an anchor tenant. He said two other companies have expressed interest in locating in the park.

"There is definitely interest," he said. "Our hope is that it will be an added value to the community."

A small house on the property will soon be demolished and Lopp said bricks from the house may be used for the entrance signage.

ALL INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUND

It looks like the all inclusive playground slated for Kevin Hammersmith Memorial Park will become a reality.

The Floyd County Commissioners agreed to use $146,000 to be put with a matching grant received by Floyd County Parks Director Roger Jeffers to purchase the playground equipment. But Jeffers said it will take about $750,000 to complete the playground and spray pad area.

Jeffers said the playground will be one of a kind for this area.

"It will be a national demonstration site," he said. "It will be all encompassing for all kids. It will be the crown jewel of that park and will be one of a kind in Southern Indiana. It's going to happen."

Jeffers is forming a committee that will be tasked with raising funds to help pay for the playground and all its amenities, which includes a rubber surface.

BLACKISTON MILL BRIDGE

Now that the location has been selected, the Blackiston Mill Road bridge project will continue to move forward, although the work will not begin immediately.

The new bridge will be located next to the current one, which will remain open through much of the construction.

Jacobi Toombs & Lanz was selected last month as engineers on the project. Lopp said right of way will have to be purchased and he expects the project to be bid in the summer of 2022.

Eighty percent of the construction cost will be covered by Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency.

"It's our biggest bridge project and we have been talking about it for 15 years," Lopp said.

BUFFALO SIGHTING

As part of Floyd County's Bicentennial celebration, students in the New Albany-Floyd County School Corp. are painting miniature buffalo statues that will be placed throughout the county, including at both library branches, county parks and Polly's Freeze. Lopp said there are about 20 being painted.

Once the buffaloes are finished and taken to various locations, that will conclude the bicentennial celebration for 2019. Lopp said events throughout the year totaled $36,000, with the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County paying all but $10,000 of the bill.

ECONOMIC GARDEN

Floyd County companies, looking for some technical assistance, can participate in the Economic Garden being offered at no expense. The companies can have no more that nine employees and $1 million or less in sales to be eligible.

Spots are still available by calling Lopp at 812-948-4110.

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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