Muscatatuck announcements to help local economy
Governor brings good economic news
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Economic growth were resounding words Governor
Mitch Daniels echoed as he began the day in his office and traveled
throughout southeastern Indiana on Tuesday. After stopping at the
Newpoint Diner, he traveled to Batesville, where the first big announcement
came - Batesville will be the site for a new Innovation Center.
Hill-Roms CEO Peter Soderberg announced the company looked
across the country and worldwide and decided Batesville was the
best place for the center, which will serve as a hub for Hill-Roms
international research and development teams that create innovative
medical equipment and technology solutions for the medical industry.
In the final analysis, we recognized the strength of building
right here where our base is strong. We see Batesville and the State
of Indiana as good partners for our future and that made our choice
easy, Soderberg stated.
Engineers and technicians will make up most of the staff at the
new center. They will all make an average hourly wage of $37. I
am thrilled to see the Hill-Rom Innovation Center come to fruition,
noted Batesville Mayor Rick Fledderman.
This is another good economic win for Southeastern Indiana,
which has been a strong participant in our economic comeback,
noted Governor Daniels.
The company will invest more than $1.6 million in the project, making
its current corporate offices into the new high-tech center. The
Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered the company up
to $2 million in tax credits and $173,000 in training grants. The
City of Batesville will give a tax abatement worth $74,000.
The second big announcement of the day was a two-part one that will
impact the area as well. Governor Daniels made a visit to the Muscatatuck
Urban Training Center just inside Jennings County. There he became
a part of an excited group, who made the announcement that the Army
will be giving the site a $100 million dollar make-over so it can
handle major training exercises. The next announcement was that
the center will be the site of the first major national training
exercise in May. About 300 permanent jobs will be added including
both military and civilian.
This is the day General Umbarger and I have been working toward
for two years. Muscatatuck will now become a major contributor to
our national security, and a major contributor to the economy of
southern Indiana, noted Governor Daniels.
The governor stood at the podium in the beautiful sunshine and addressed
those in attendance. He said he stood on the same grounds a couple
of years earlier with a sense of sadness after the facility was
closed as a hospital and home for mentally challenged. He admitted
he was at a complete loss that day as to what the future would hold
for the sprawling acreage littered with buildings. He said the answer
began with a vision and through a multitude of people a vision has
now become a reality.
Muscatatuck will play a significant role in training soldiers
and units to protect our country, said Brigadier General Tom
Maffey, director of training for the Department of the Army. He
added, Once we are fully operational, the Army will train
significant numbers of soldiers every year at this unique training
The upcoming exercises will replicate a realistic response to a
major terrorist attack. The grounds at MUTC will be transformed
to replicate a large targeted city where the detonation of a nuclear
device will take place.
The exercise will include 2,000 active duty military personnel along
with 450 local first responders (local meaning from the Indianapolis
and Terre Haute areas), and role players, many of which will be
As Congressman Baron Hill stood before the crowd at MUTC on Tuesday,
he said, I suspended my duties in Washington for the day and
came to be a part of this great event. This is home to me.
Citing the day America was changed forever, Hill referred to the
tragedy of September 11, 2001. He said, 9-11 changed the world
- 9-11 changed the way we live - 9-11 changed Washington.
He continued by noting that Muscatatuck will be part of the remedy
of the tragic event of 9-11.
Brigadier General Clif Tooley held a short briefing for media before
the main announcement where he said, This is a proud day.
He explained that there will be ten major exercises a year held
at MUTC with a whole bunch of smaller ones in between.
He said there have been numerous studies made on the facility with
all of them coming to the same conclusion, there is no place
in the world like Muscatatuck.
While he said the timeline for getting everything in full operation
is projected for the year 2012, we are trying to move up that
timeline, he told those in the media room. He described the
first major exercise as bringing 4000 people to the area. It
will be the largest live deployment for this type of exercise to
date, he said.
Saying the complexity of the urban environment is a real threat
in todays warfare, the site at MUTC has exactly what is needed
for training. This was like a self-contained city, he
noted, referring to what the center was in years past. He
said that, along with the fact the site is fairly remote, under
a three dimensional airspace, the sheer size and complexity, makes
it have all the desired capabilities needed for todays training.
Mayors from the cities of Vernon and North Vernon attended the ceremony
on Tuesday, both saying they were thankful for the economic boon
the facility is sure to lend to the area.
While the big announcements seemed like the point of culmination
- and it was - Brigadier Tooley noted, Its just the
Governor Daniels concluded with, Indiana is proud to serve.
Providing the facility to train the military to protect lives and
liberties brings a sense of pride to the state and the economic
benefit is an added bonus. The governor projects a $324M payroll,
likening the facility to a convention center that will bring 40,000
people through it on an annual basis.
Muscatatuck is getting a worldwide name as a first class training
center that will be used by all branches of the military.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Above Governor Mitch Daniels, right, shakes hands with
those in attendance at the announcement of the Army at Muscatatuck
Urban Training Center on Tuesday. BELOW: Congressman Baron
Hill is escorted by military personnel from the aircraft
that brought him to the event. He noted that he suspended
his duties in Washington to be on hand for the monumental