MONTICELLO — The Monticello City Council discussed an agreement with the Greater Lafayette Commerce on READI grant funds for the Sycamore Estates project. The GLCC is the administrator of the grant funds, which come from federal and state COVID funds, to build streets and utility infrastructure for the project with $1.5 million in funds. The city has to stay in compliance with federal requirements.

City attorney George Loy explained the estimated budget for the project is around $1.9 million. He said there will be a sub agreement with the city and the developer. The city will own the infrastructure, which includes the streets and utility infrastructures. Councilman Ken Houston asked if the city will have someone overseeing the project to be sure it is in compliance. Mayor Cathy Gross said the city does have the discretion to have its own inspector who will work with the city’s department heads and IDEM for the project.

She said they held out the agreement for a year so the city could have that control over the project, saying, “We held firm on a city inspector on that.”

The grant is a 75/25 grant with the city paying 25% of the project. With the council’s approval vote, the city could move forward on the project. Gross said they will be meeting with multiple developers on this soon.

The council also discussed READI 2.0, which is different than the first. The discussion was whether to enter a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the GLCC on this second grant. There are 17 rural entities joining the regional group. Economic Development Director Randy Strasser said, “I appreciate your patience in the MOU and the agreement. We’ve finally gotten to the point READI 1 basically, those projects are ready to roll and now READI 2 is moving forward.”

He explained the Indiana Economic Development Corporation will decide how much each region receives in a grant.

Houston had concerns as to how much voice the rural areas would have over the larger urban Lafayette area. Gross explained every county will have three representatives. In White County, that will be the Mayor of Monticello, a county commissioner and the economic development director. Gross said this MOU is agreeing to be join the region in READI Grant 2.0.

Houston asked, what the purpose is for the city. “READI 2.0 requires a regional collaborative,” Gross said. “This regional collaborative is administered through Greater Lafayette Commerce, and we’ve actually added Montgomery County to this regional collaborative. This memorandum of understanding says that we understand that we are part of this regional process.”

“It basically says ‘We don’t know what we’re going to get, but do want to be a part of it,” she said.

“The votes are there,” Strasser said. “We little guys actually have a lot of voice in this whole process. It’s nice to see the respect coming from Tippecanoe County to the other counties.”

“They want success in the region because they know when success happens in the region, it’s a big impact on them as well too,” he continued.

Gross said White County came out pretty good in READI 1 Grants. “We got our river walk funded. We got $1.5 million for our real estate development. I don’t remember how many tens of thousands we got for child care, but White County came out pretty darn good,” she said.

The council gave both the READI 1 agreement and the MOU for READI Grant 2.0 a unanimous approval after discussing both at length.
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