Mystery surrounds development plans in western Boone County

LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) — Rumors and speculation have led the Boone County Commissioners to have a town-hall-style forum Thursday night in Western Boone Junior-Senior High School gymnasium to talk about a development project that no one can confirm even exists. 

Neither the county nor the state have announced any planned development in Thorntown, although I-Team 8 has been contacted several times.

People in Thorntown say they would like see some new development, but some straight answers would go a long way. 

In the center of the town of 1,500 is a small but busy restaurant called the Farmer’s Table. That’s where I-Team 8 caught up with Dave Williams, a member of the Thorntown Town Council and a lifelong resident of Boone County, before Thursday’s forum.

He said, “The only thing I’m hearing is a just a rumor that everybody else has heard that possibly FedEx is involved with the buy of surrounding land here south of Thorntown.”

He adds that no one from FedEx, the state or any federal agency has contacted the Town Council.

Any development, though, is going to take land, and Williams has heard it’d be a lot of land. He said he’s “heard stories that it is possible that land has been bought I don’t know for sure that it has been.” 

What Williams has heard is similar to several phone calls I-Team 8 has received but been unable to verify over the past couple of months.

One of the points of contact for the Boone County Economic Development Corp. is Chassity Neckers. She helped put together the town-hall forum to address the rumors. Talking with News 8 before the Thursday forum, she said, “We know there has been speculation for several months now about a development in the west part of the county and we want to make sure we are being transparent but then being proactively listening to our residents.”

She said they were being transparent, but about what? “So, we know the state economic development organization is actively interested in developing in the west part of the county. We know with that comes several conversations that need to happen. We want to make sure we are listening to our residents but also responding to that market demand as well.”

One of the calls I-Team 8 received indicated a semiconductor chip manufacturer was interested in coming to Boone County, but Neckers said, “At this time, we don’t have any information about the user prepared. Certainly, we want to make sure we are open to those opportunities. We want to make sure we can provide jobs that are life-enhancing for our community. Sometimes, that comes with those higher-paid wages and those types of developments.”

Neckers says her organization doesn’t know the name of the company or companies interested in the development.

People visited the Western Boone Junior-Senior High School gymnasium, near Dover, Indiana, on the night of March 24, 2022, to learn more about a development proposal in western Boone County. (WISH Photo)
A view of a farm field along a highway is shown March 24, 2022, in western Boone County. (WISH Photo)