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I-69 Opens with Ribbon Cutting at WestGate

The I-69 Section 4 ribbon cutting and ceremony was hosted at WestGate Academy in WestGate@Crane Technology Park December 9 . It was standing room only with attendees from across the Hoosier state. NSWC Crane Commanding Officer Captain JT Elder says nearly 6,000 people come through the Navy base's gates daily.   

"We have approximately thirty-three hundred government employees at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane supported by fourteen hundred contractors that come through the gates every single day. One third of those employees live up in Bloomington. So we have just shortened their drive significantly; we have increased their quality of life significantly."

INDOT Facts on Sections 1-4
  • Covers 94 miles connecting Evansville to Bloomington.
  • At the peak of construction in 2012, I-69 was the longest contiguous ongoing new terrain construction project in the US
  • The length of the Patoka River Bridge, 4,400 feet, is greater than the main span of the Golden Gate Bridge at 4,200 feet 
  • Laid end-to-end, the 2,079 beams used for bridge structures circle the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 17 times
  • The amount of concrete and asphalt used would fill Assembly Hall over 5 times
  • The aggregate used, if piled, would stand as tall as the Empire State Building
  • Priority caves for over 34,000 endangered bats were secured and protected
  • About 1.3 million trees were preserved or planted as part of this project
  • The amount of earth moved for construction would fill Lucas Oil Stadium over 8 times
Governor Pence Leads Caravan to   
Open New 27-Mile Long Section of I-69

Via Indiana Department of Transportation, Indianapolis, December 9, 2015  - Governor Mike Pence today joined state and local leaders to open I-69 Section 4 in Greene and Monroe counties. Following today's ceremony, Governor Pence led a caravan to open the new 27 miles between U.S. 231 near Naval Support Activity Crane and State Road 37 south of Bloomington.  
"Hoosiers know that roads mean jobs, and this new interstate section is a key component to the economic vitality and development of southwest Indiana," said Governor Pence. "Finishing what we've started with I-69 will connect an entire region of our state with improved access to jobs, education and healthcare."  
Purdue University researchers tracked State Road 45 travel times within the past month and predict that the new I-69 section opening today will save commuters, on average, 18 minutes of travel-time. Purdue performed a similar study before the first I-69 sections opened in 2012 and estimated a 38-minute travel-time savings between Evansville and Crane.  

"Projects like I-69 illustrate the Indiana
Department of Transportation's strong commitment to modernizing Indiana's transportation infrastructure," Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson said. "The more than $1 billion invested in Indiana's roads over the last two years combined with Governor Pence's 21st Century Crossroads plan have Indiana positioned to remain the Crossroads of America for generations."  
The new I-69 section has three new exits at State Road 45, State Road 445 and State Road 37. Teardrop-shaped roundabouts are used to control State Road 445 traffic at the I-69 Exit 104 ramps near the Greene-Monroe county line.  
"The new I-69 will easily connect the third largest naval installation in the world's national experts with DoD, industrial and academic leaders to develop advanced war-fighting technology," said Capt. JT Elder, commanding officer for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.  
" Our infrastructure is one of the many reasons Indiana is recognized as a great place to do business," said Becky Skillman, former Lieutenant Governor and president and CEO of Radius Indiana. "This new-terrain interstate with sections wide open for development will be a game changer for many communities."   
"Interstate 69 construction continues to progress north at a steady clip," said Kevin Brinegar, chair of the Hoosier Voices for I-69 Board of Directors. "Today's opening of I-69 Section 4 is the first, important link in establishing a direct, four-lane that connects Evansville and Indianapolis with the global economy."  

Although Section 4 is now open to traffic, I-69 construction continues. Inspections and punch-list items will require occasional lane closures into 2016 between Crane and Bloomington. Traffic should expect delays at traffic shifts and lane closures as State Road 37 is upgraded to I-69 from Bloomington to Martinsville.
For more about the I-69 extension in southwest Indiana, visit , and a video to assist in navigating the new roundabout interchange can be found here:

Aerial footage of the new I-69 section, including 360-degree views of exits and major bridges can be found at

The Lock & Key Coworking Space
The Lock & Key grows in membership

The Lock & Key Coworking Space has successfully launched at WestGate Academy. With memberships growing and events planned in the upcoming year, don't miss out on the chance to be part of a growing entrepreneurial community.

High school and college students are encouraged to join and become part of this working movement. Daily passes are only $5, and NSWC Crane is just around the corner. Kick off the new year and come check out our space!
Purdue University at WestGate@Crane Technology Park
Purdue flag to fly at WestGate Academy

WestGate Authority Board members have agreed to Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation expanding its presence in the WestGate@Crane Technology Park.

This fall a memorandum of understanding signed was between Purdue Research Foundation, Purdue University, WestGate@Crane Authority, Battery Innovation Center Institute, and Indiana Office of Defense Development to jointly work together to form a partnership to further economic development, innovation, research, and commercialization.

WestGate@Crane will raise a Purdue University flag at WestGate Academy to observe the agreement and signify the future growth of the park as well as the region.

This MOU could potentially include up to a full-time Purdue presence at WestGate, research and grant collaborations, and entrepreneurial/educational opportunities.
WestGate@Crane Celebrates Indiana's Bicentennial 
WestGate@Crane Technology Park Commemorates Indiana History

WestGate@Crane Technology Park raises Indiana's Bicentennial Flag  at WestGate Academy  to commemorate  200 years of statehood . The statewide, yearlong celebration began Friday, December 11. 

Be part of the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #Indiana200 all year!

Interested in finding an event to participate in? Check out this link for the full list of events and celebrate with other Hoosiers.

Thinking about hosting an event this upcoming Bicentennial year? Host your event with us!
OCRA Awards Grant Money to Regional Counties
Grant money will be awarded to the Martin county in partnership with Greene and Daviess counties to assist with workforce development programming. WestGate@Crane Technology Park resides in this tri-county area. This programming is to develop skills needed and or required to further develop the region's workforce. As the Gateway to Future, WestGate@Crane Technology Park is privileged to be part of the future growth of this region.  

Office of Community and Rural Affairs Awards $2 Million for Workforce Development Programming to 8 Indiana Communities
Via  Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs ,   Indianapolis, December 2, 2015 -  The  Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)  t oday announced $2 million will be awarded to 8 communities through the Work Force Development Program (WDP) .

Grant, Howard, Knox, Martin, Starke, Steuben, Perry (Tell City) and Whitley Counties will each receive $250,000 in grant funding for the implementation of new training programs to address the skills needs of the local workforce within the community or region.

"WDP encourages continued economic growth by equipping our cities and towns with the resources needed to develop and maintain a high quality workforce both now and in the future," said Bill Konyha, OCRA Executive Director. "We look forward to the partnership with communities across Indiana as we work together to ensure there is a skilled workforce; a key element in ensuring our communities are relevant and thriving in the 21st century."

The WDP program is funded through the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) with the goal of bolstering workforce development as a long-term economic development strategy. Eligible activities range from sector based strategies that focus on specific industry needs (i.e. welding, heavy equipment operator, etc) to problem-focused strategies (i.e. life skills, interviewing, basic math, etc.) to implementation measures.  

In late July, OCRA hosted a workshop to introduce the new program, which outlined goals, anticipated outcomes and the importance of partnerships in the process, as well as eligibility requirements and detailed application information. Local economic development organizations, chamber of commerce members, school corporations, community foundations and businesses interested in advancing the skills of local citizens were present at the workshop.

Below is a summary of this year's WDP recipients:

Grant County has been awarded $250,000 for incumbent worker training. The program will expand the Grant's Got Talent program by adding industrial maintenance skills training. This program includes seven other partners in the program.

Howard County has been awarded a $250,000 for incumbent worker training. The program will provide basic skills education, machining skills training and maintenance skills training. This program includes eight other partners in the program.

Knox County , in partnership with Sullivan County and the City of Princeton, has been awarded $250,000 for a workforce development program. The training includes heavy equipment operation and industrial maintenance and will be conducted in conjunction with Vincennes University.

Martin County in partnership with Lawrence, Greene, and Daviess counties has been awarded $250,000 to assist with a workforce development program. The program includes training for unemployed and underemployed workers into the fields of CNC machining, electronics, and information/security technology. The training supports the workforce of the Base of Crane, defense industry contractors, and regional manufacturers with skilled workers.

Starke County has been awarded $250,000 in funds to purchase the equipment necessary to provide training in manufacturing equipment maintenance and automation technology. The training will be offered by and at the Starke County Initiative for Lifelong Learning (SCILL) for entering and incumbent workers from four counties. 

Steuben County has been awarded $250,000 to provide training to address skill gaps and improve technical skills in the areas of welding and CNC operations. Steuben County is leveraging $305,000 as local match for this training development program.

The City of Tell City, in Perry County, along with the Perry County Business and Industrial Development Corporation has been awarded $250,000 for a workforce development program. The SWIM-Plus training program will be offered throughout the region of Perry, Spencer, Dubois and Crawford Counties. 

Whitley County has successfully partnered with Noble County for a $250,000 grant to develop a workforce development program. The training program will be focused on incumbent and underemployed workers in the areas of machining, industrial maintenance and welding. The training will be offered through IVY Tech and the Freedom Academy.

For more information about the Workforce Development Program, contact your regional Community Liaison with questions and visit OCRA's Workforce Development Program webpage

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs' (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state, and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development.

For updates from Lt. Governor Ellspermann and the agencies she oversees, go to
Regional Cities Initiatives Gives Grant Money to 3 Indiana Regions
Southwest Indiana, along the I-69 corridor, is to receive grant funding expected to grow the region's population by more than 70,000. Evansville, the heart of this region, is a little more than an hour away along I-69 from WestGate@Crane Technology Park and WestGate Academy.  

Regional Winners Expect Statewide Impact


The three regions chosen for $42 million each in Regional Cities Initiative funding are reacting with a common theme. Officials in North Central, Northeast and Southwest Indiana say the resulting projects will boost the entire state, not just their specific regions. Members of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors agree, saying the proposals will address critical issues throughout the state, including population stagnation and the need for "young human capital."

The state will see an extra infusion of funding, since three regions were chosen instead of the expected two. Advisory Committee Chair John Thompson says the "tremendous success" of the state's tax amnesty program, which ended last month, allowed for the extra funding.

The seven proposals were wide-ranging, totaling more than 400 projects and $4 billion in funding. Thompson says the applications covered 34 counties and 70 percent of the state's population. The board approved "continued support" for regional plans in Central, east Central, Northwest and West Central Indiana. While not guaranteeing any funds, the board says they could be awarded in the future based on availability.

Southwest Indiana's proposal aims to increase the region's population by more than 70,000 within a decade. The $926 million plan includes residential development and a science center at the nationally-recognized Signature School in downtown Evansville. You can see the full proposal by  clicking here.

Northeast Indiana's $842 million proposal includes funding for a planned Food Innovation Center in Bluffton, upgrades to the former Clyde Theater in Fort Wayne and development along the St. Mary's River. You can see the proposal by  here.

North Central Indiana submitted a $732 million proposal, including upgrades to Elkhart's Wellfield Gardens and increased use of the former Studebaker Plant in South Bend. You can see the application by  clicking here.

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