Northern Daviess County town wants to be more welcoming

Feb. 22—ODON — The northern Daviess County community of Odon is looking to put the welcome mat out for people coming to the area to be part of the WestGate One micro processing chip plant.

Odon has long served as home for some of the thousands of workers at the Crane Naval Weapons Support Center. Now it wants to invite people who will work at the chip plant, some of whom will receive $100,000 annual salaries to come to the community.

"We are very excited about the chip plant at WestGate because that means if we can get some housing lined-up we can offer those 400 new employees a place to live," said Odon Town Board member Susie Roach.

To get those people to move to Odon will mean coming up with suitable housing. The town is planning to begin efforts to try and expand its housing stock.

"We are meeting with some developers this week and talking about creating a Redevelopment Commission in our area and get some properties cleaned up and possibly encourage some developers to come in and construct some houses and put them up for sale," said Roach. "This is to test the waters, see what the interest is kind of thing and look at a launch to get this running. We are looking for some people who have some excitement about the possibilities and are ready to work."

Officials project that not only will the chip plant at WestGate bring in direct jobs, the service and other businesses associated with the micro processing operation could bring in hundreds more jobs.

"With the redevelopment commission I can see the community reaching out to become a home for any ancillary business that might service the chip plant," said Roach. "We've been talking about revitalizing downtown and the Main Street area."

One thing Odon will have to do is upgrade its infrastructure if it hopes to expand its housing a business opportunities. The water system, which is one element of the town's infrastructure is set for a $5 million upgrade.

"We are right where we are supposed to be on our water project. We are working on engineering drawings, the environmental study," said Roach. "There's a distinct possibility we will be drilling a new well. The water plant building will be redone and we will also be putting in a new water tower. The water project will mean more capacity. That way we can take on more customers."

And while the town is looking at a storm sewer project in the future the waste water treatment plant is able to handle additional customers.

"Our sewer plant is in good shape. It was recently redone by the previous counsel. It will be fine," said Roach.

Odon officials are hoping to break ground on the water project next year. The town will also have a federally funded rebuilding and expansion of West Street. That project is also expected to begin in 2024.