Nearing the end of his second and final term of office, Salem Mayor David Bower continues to announce growth in the community he has led for the past 8 years.

Bower and members of the City of Salem Common Council and Salem Redevelopment Commission gathered on South Main Street near the intersection of Jackson Street to unveil a sign for the new City of Salem Commerce Park.

Salem Mayor David Bower helps Warren Jones and Terry McNeely unveil the sign to the new Commerce Pak.
Outgoing Salem Mayor David Bower shakes hands with Mayor-elect Troy Merry in front of the sign for the city’s new Commerce Park.
From left, Ron Haendiges, Wally Terkhorn, Justin Green, Terry McNeely, Ken Temple, Mayor David Bower and Warren Jones dig in to turn over dirt on a new 20,000 warehouse facility that will be built in the new city’s new Commerce Park.
Ron Haendiges, Troy Merry and Justin Green applaud David Bower’s comments about lowering taxes in Salem.

“This industrial park isn’t going to be like the other one. The other one is sitting and this one is moving. I think we need to unveil it and get this show on the road!” said Warren Jones, President of the Redevelopment Commission.

Two businesses are already planning on locating in the park, both 20,000 buildings.

Announcements on the names of the tenants should come before year’s end.

The 19-plus acre site of the former Cozart Salvage Yard was purchased from Ken Temple and is now owned by the City of Salem.

The Commission used TIFF District money to buy the land and put up the sign.

“It’s not somebody on Willow Street, Tucker Steet or Grandview Drive paying for this,” said Bower. “It’s money captured from businesses in the TIFF DISTRICT…no tax money was involved.”

The sign unveiling soon turned into a ground breaking for the new park.

“I’d like to thank the plan commission for all they’ve done,” said Terry McNeely. “This is not a one person thing. A lot of teamwork. David put together a real good team for economic development. And we’ve used that. [They’re] not afraid to get out and ask people to come and we do have two people who want 20,000 square feet. We can’t announce which one is going first.”

“The taxpayers of City of Salem, Washington County should be proud of this day…as we get the tax base up, we get the tax rate down,” said McNeely. “This commerce park is not going to set empty for the next 30 years – today we’re breaking ground on a 20,000 square foot warehouse…thanks to everyone who helped us!”

Bower said the park and new business development is not only centered on jobs and bringing in a paycheck, it also has to do with generating revenue that we can use to fix local roads and streets.

“This is inside the city limits,” explained Bower. “We will derive tax money from this. As I’ve said many times, we have to have brick and mortar to make the city grow. When we bring in additional revenue from commerce, the tax rates will do down.”

Another major coup for this Commerce Park is in the title. It’s a Shovel Ready – Silver site, a designation given by the State of Indiana.

The Indiana Shovel Ready designation certifies sites that are ready for economic development.   Communities of any size may apply for the designation through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).

The base level defines boundaries with a clear title, establishes a price, demonstrates executive level local government support, defines utility capacity, and provides documentation such as Phase I environmental assessment, ALTA, topographical, property layout, and plat maps.

Shovel Ready Silver builds upon those attributes by maintaining documentation that is less than one year old, has proper zoning, and has infrastructure built to the property.

Shovel Ready Gold expands beyond Silver by being less than five miles from a two-lane highway, have seismic data, soil borings, are a minimum of 20 acres, and has no environmental concerns.

Certified Shovel Ready, Silver, and Gold sites are featured on Indiana’s Site Selector Database and will be included in the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) marketing materials.

The Washington County Economic Growth Parthership’s J.F. Helsel Commerce Park located east of Salem is a 135-acre Shovel Ready site.

Salem’s new mayor-elect Troy Merry said he was excited at growth in the city. “I’m tickled to death that this day has come. I’m looking forward to the jobs this will create and we will work hard every day to grow this community.”

Entrance to Commerce Park will be into the Rite Aid parking lot, which is a platted street. This will be the main business entrance.

There will be a truck entrance on Joseph Street and the two roads will connect.