Tech park boundaries expand

Funds from area to benefit Jackson County Learning Center

Seymour has expanded the boundaries of its only certified tech park to generate funding for the Jackson County Learning Center.

Four years ago, the city was granted the tech park designation by the state as a result of the Cummins Engine Hedgehog project, said Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp.

A tech park allows the city to receive money from both sales tax and income tax revenue generated within the park, similar to how a tax increment finance district uses property tax revenue.

By state law, the money captured must be reinvested on fixed assets in the tech park, such as buildings, equipment and infrastructure.

The city had to submit the boundaries of the park to determine where the money could be spent, Plump said. Money was used to help put in a new parking lot, landscaping, sidewalk, road repaving and other improvements around Cummins on East Fourth Street.

“At that time, we drew the boundaries to incorporate the Cummins campus, plus the land to the south of the railroad where Cummins was going to put one of their new buildings,” he said.

Every four years, the city has to recertify the park, a process that was completed this past summer, Plump said.

In discussions and looking at possible uses of tech park funds, it was decided and approved by the state to expand the park’s boundaries along the CSX rail line to the east. It then turns south to go down Dupont Drive to include the learning center.

The change was approved by the Seymour Redevelopment Commission and city council Monday.

The learning center houses classrooms for Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus and the Seymour Community Schools alternative education program. WorkOne, the state’s workforce and employment agency, also has an office in the building.

Enrollment in programs has continued to increase, and many manufacturers, including Cummins, Aisin and Kremers Urban, use the center for workforce training.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.