To help with the COLI research, the South Central Indiana (SCI) REMC approved a grant for the MCEDC which Sessing says covered "the data gathering process" with plenty left over to cover similar expenses going forward.
Sessing says the information will prove a valuable tool. "If your cost of living is low, the cost of doing business will also be low, and now we'll have the numbers to prove it."
Meanwhile, Matt Hall's experiences for One Southern Indiana, which includes both Clark and Floyd Counties, were similar to Sessing's in several respects. "We were aware of the COLI tool for several years, but it was important that we break down our numbers, not only compared to other metropolitan areas, but between metropolitan areas within our internal territories. We're on the edge of really great things--we have River Ridge Commerce Center, 6,000 acres ready to be developed. We just announced Amazon's intent to develop there." Hall also cites transportation improvements, with a new east end bridge on the Ohio River connecting Interstate 265 in Indiana with I-265 in Kentucky, which have never been connected in over 40 years, plus a new downtown bridge and the reworking of 'spaghetti junction.'
Hall recalled, "The Clark County REMC made the introduction for us to CCER in Virginia to get us started quickly. They also briefed us on what we could expect and how to best prepare to gather the data, so there were no surprises."
One Southern Indiana tasked an existing staff person to collect the information needed for the report. "Ideally, we'd like to update our stats every quarter, but as it stands, we're probably starting off at twice a year."
Hall says the numbers confirm what he suspected. "Southern Indiana is a very affordable place to live, even in the metro areas compared to other metros. I find it interesting but confirming that Southern Indiana’s overall Composite Index is 87.4%, slightly lower than the Louisville MSA. Louisville metro is a “good buy”....and southern Indiana is not only reflective of that, but, overall, rated slightly better."
Hall concluded, "The Clark County REMC is a true economic development partner and pioneer. Without it, we wouldn't have the success we have here."
The COLI published by the CCER correlates data on 306 participating communities throughout the United States. Learn more at http://www.c2er.org/ Learn more about One Southern Indiana at http://www.1si.org/ and the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation at http://www.morgancoed.com/
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