The possibility that St. Joseph County could land a $2 billion-plus EV battery plant is the culmination of a multi-year effort to better organize its economic development efforts. 

That effort got underway in 2015 when the county hired former Mishawaka and South Bend planner Bill Schalliol as its first-ever director of economic development and then moved into high gear a couple of years later after an unsuccessful pitch to a business in Charlotte, N.C., that was interested in expanding. 

“We learned from the experience that we weren’t near ready to compete for highly sought-after projects,” Commissioner Andy Kostielney said. “But when we came back, we started doing our homework and did a comprehensive analysis of the way other places went about building a plan.” 

Millions of dollars were spent producing and acting on reports by consultants on the water, habitats, roads, zoning, waste water, natural gas, electricity, roads, zoning and other issues that could impact development in a nearly 3,000-acre chunk of land on the western side of the county. 

Indiana:St. Joseph County in the running for massive $2.5B plant, 1,000+ new jobs

Some of the land already had been developed but those pushing for economic development felt even more could be accomplished if some of the uncertainties were removed that stopped the county from landing big deals in the past.

Copyright © 2022, South Bend Tribune