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Expo Center bids now under review

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Two big dreams – a new Expo Center in Memorial Park and a Showplace Cinemas multi-screen theatre – got a little closer to reality Wednesday, thanks to action by the Henry County Commissioners.

Commissioners accepted two bids on the Expo Center project – one from Fredericks of Pendleton and another from Pridemark of Muncie. Both bids were referred to the Commissioners’ technical review committee for further study.

Later, Commissioners approved a request from Northfield Park developer Jeff Smiley to slightly divert the popular Wilbur Wright Trail, which begins near the Henry County YMCA. The diversion is needed for construction of a new road to accommodate housing and multi-screen theatre projects. The theatre project, although delayed, is still very much on target to be completed in 2020, according to Smiley.


Fredericks, which recently completed the local Ivy Tech addition, submitted two options for the Expo Center. The first, a scaled-down plan, was for $1,750,000 million. A second more comprehensive bid with “extras” was offered for $3,085,000.

Pridemark, currently working on the 1400 Plaza in downtown New Castle, submitted a bid of approximately $3,518,000 with four options:

• Alternate 1 – A wall sealer at $3,475.

• Alternate 2 – Security system for $8,000.

• Alternate 3 – Interior metal wall liner $56,615.

• Alternate 4 – Substitute exhaust system, deducting $63,000.

Pridemark alternate design options would take costs down to $3 million.

Plans for the Henry County Expo Center include a 11,200 sq. ft. banquet hall and a 55,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose building designed to host future 4-H fair events, as well as weddings, industry conventions and sporting events.

The current price tag for the Henry County Expo Center is $5.2 million, with the Henry County government contributing $1.7 million from a maintenance bond.

The tech review committee plans to meet July 16 to go over the bids.

Northfield Park

Commissioner Ed Yanos made the motion to send a request to the Department of Natural Resources for relocating the Wilbur Wright Trail as plans begin for a new road to accomodate condominiums and a theatre in the area.

“It’s important to have safety for people on the trail,” Yanos said.

Smiley said both the housing project and the theatre have momentum.

“I’ve already received mini-deposits for the condominiums,” Smiley said. “As for the theatre, in the last three weeks, Mick Stieler of Showplace Cinemas has bought another acre of ground. We’re starting to get a little interest from restaurants. It’s going to be a great addition to New Castle.”

Other business

• Larry Stockton asked Commissioners to consider changing the Henry County Memorial Park name to “Veterans of Henry County Memorial Park.” Stockton said he has appeared before American Legion organizations in New Castle, Middletown and Knightstown, who all support the name change. Commissioners President Kim Cronk said the name change idea would be on the itinerary for the 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 24 meeting.

• Cronk announced applications for two Memorial Park Board vacancies have been received from Michelle Bryant, William Ward, Rita Fisher, Delmos Runion and Steve Peckinpaugh. Interviews for those positions are planned 3 p.m. Monday, July 15.