City of Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana.
The City of Winchester was approached by a local construction company desiring to relocate, but remaining within the City. The company had approached the local school corporation about a soon to be former elementary school.
How LWG helped
During a discussion with then Mayor Steven Croyle, LWG learned that the school corporation was planning to dispose of the Driver Elementary School property which was outdated and no longer needed. It was also mentioned that the local company and the 300 jobs it provided was considering relocating to a neighboring city due to the lack of available sites. The school corporation had initially offered to swap the property with the construction company in exchange for work on school projects, specifically the athletic field.
LWG offered an alternative opportunity to benefit all parties involved. The City, through its Redevelopment Commission would acquire the property from the school corporation which would then take proposals for the development of the site. Simultaneously, the Redevelopment Commission would establish a single parcel Economic Development (TIF) Area. The establishment of the TIF area would capture tax revenues generated that could be granted to the school corporation to assist with its vocational education programing. This 21st century workforce skill training was long advocated by the City and the school corporation as a vital economic development strategy.
After completing all of the legally required steps, the Redevelopment Commission was able to transfer the property to the local company. The City retained a major employer with its 300 jobs that invested in the redevelopment of the former school building as its headquarters. The school corporation was able to dispose of a school building it no longer needed.
Most importantly, the Redevelopment Commission is able to provide additional funding (estimated to be $70,000 per year) for the next 20 years in grant funds to the school corporation for its vocational education programs. Already the school corporation has been able to purchase welders, 3-D printers, and other gear to help students train for skilled jobs and offer retraining to adults within the community. A benefit that will impact the local workforce development for generations.
The former Winchester Mayor credits LWG with quick, creative thinking in a solution that benefited the school corporation and community: the disposal of the property, the continuation of the vocational education grant, and overall community improvement through the retention of jobs, all without additional cost to the taxpayer.
“We never felt like we were getting anything boilerplate, we had some interesting challenges and they worked hand-in-glove with us to come up with a solution. Every move involved innovation. LWG developed strategies, concepts, and initiatives that made our partnership successful,” Croyle said.
In the wake of the project, LWG and the city of Winchester have been able to incentivize two other businesses to stay and reinvest in their operations and facilities, thereby adding several million dollars to the community and retaining jobs without negative cash impact on the community.
While LWG had been serving the City of Winchester for over 10 years and had cultivated a long term relationship with Mayor, it was listening for opportunities and offering a creative solution that provided additional revenue, job retention and funding for school and community projects. Like many of our projects, it was not a one-off venture, but a comprehensive solution with benefits across the community. As a trusted resource to our clients, we are often included in conversations and uncover opportunities that might have been lost otherwise.