Efforts towards a feasibility study on whether
a port would survive in Ohio County or Dearborn County are not intended
circumvent the Southeast Indiana Regional Port Authority, Ind.
Rep. Randy Frye (R-Indianapolis) told that board Friday, July
Rather, his meeting with Ohio County and some Dearborn County officials and residents Thursday, June 26, was a movement toward
something he's been thinking about for the two years since he was elected, he said.
“One of the first things I wanted to do was establish a port here,” he said. The first step is a study of whether a port would
survive and where it best would be located, said Frye. Personally, he doesn't care where it would go, anywhere between the
Indiana/Ohio state line in Dearborn down to the Ohio/Switzerland county line, he said.
“To me, it's a regional economic opportunity, not just for one county,” said Frye. He thinks Ohio County/Rising Sun has agreed to raise $75,000 toward the study's cost, and the experts hired with those funds
will tell local folks where it ought to go.
“We are going to need a sizable amount of land,” said Frye, mentioning Ports of Indiana prefers 100,000 acres.
While the closing American Electric Power Tanner's Creek plant would offer existing port facilities, the site does not have
the amount of property Ports of Indiana prefers, he said. Still, it could be used as a loading and unloading facility with
receiving and shipping companies located somewhere else, said Frye.
The SIRPA has discussed acquiring the AEP docking facilities when the plant closes in 2015.
Jeff Stratman, SIRPA attorney, said one of the sites under discussion at the Ohio County meeting was property on the Ohio
County side of Laughery Creek. Nick Domaschko, who owns that land, was at both meetings.
But Rich Cooper, of Ports of Indiana, said at the Rising Sun meeting that a railroad connection is a must. Also mentioned
then was that any port developed through that effort would be owned by the state.
That would not be the case if SIRPA acquires
and manages port facilities, according to previous SIRPA board
mention of ownership was made at the July 18 meeting, but SIRPA
member Tom Schneider pointed out the Ohio County effort would
take two or three years before a shovel turns the dirt.
Meanwhile, Dearborn County has an existing,
private port, Consolidated Grain in Aurora, which is expanding, said
And the port facilities at AEP could become available without the
need to seek construction permits from the Corps of Engineers.
So should the SIRPA wait on Frye's study or go on with its efforts, asked Schneider.
The study won't take that long, said Frye, adding he can't tell the SIRPA what to do. But his effort also will need federal
dollars, something he intends to pursue.
Stratman said he didn't see any problem with both processes proceeding at this stage. SIRPA member E.G. McLaughlin asked how
long the study will take, and Frye said he hoped it would take place within 90 days.
In other business, the board discussed the new interlocal agreement which would add Dearborn County to the SIRPA. The agreement
needs to be approved by all member entities: the county, Lawrenceburg and Aurora. Greendale has been asked to join SIRPA,
but has since taken steps to create its own port authority.
The next SIRPA meeting will be at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, in the Dearborn County Commissioners room in the Dearborn County
Administration Building, Lawrenceburg.