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Council commits $60K to Kirklin

By Katharine Calabro - kcalabro@ftimes.com

The County Council committed $60,000 to the Town of Kirklin, for its economic development plan Tuesday.

Kirklin is currently in phase two of its economic development plan. The second phase is connecting the Monon Trail to Frankfort, making Clinton County a partner in the town’s venture.

The idea behind Kirklin’s economic development plan began with the formation of Kirklin Main Street seven years ago, a not-for-profit program focused on the town’s future and increasing foot traffic.

Kirklin Town Council member Melinda Jobe presented plans to council on the program’s focus. She said the town is currently on phase one, which is downtown. Phase two is the Monon Trail and phase three is housing.

“In order to do this we need a commitment from Clinton County,” Jobe said.

In 2022, Indiana Department of Transportation will repave Ind. 38, which is part of the Monon Trail connection. In doing this, INDOT will help bring people from Sheridan to Kirklin and Frankfort.

Invested in Kirklin fully are brothers Jim and Dan Mann, who are part of Kirklin Main Street and also developers of the town’s economic plan. Jim Mann said the project as a whole will cost around $750,000. The town will need $30,000 in donations, not part of the matching funds. The matching funds for the $600,000 grant is $120,000.

“You take in account Kirklin has given $25,000, making us about $95,000 short,” Jim Mann said.

Originally, Kirklin asked Clinton County to commit around $75,000 and although the council agreed this would be a great investment, money is tight.

County Council President Alan Dunn said this would be a great leverage for county dollars, but the county can only write a check for funds available. Because of this, Dunn offered ten percent of the federal grant. 

“It’s sort of the language we are used to working with,” he said. “If you’re doing a federally funded project it’s usually a 10 percent county match.”

Though the council agreed to provide funding, the money won’t be made available until 2020.

The council hopes its commitment will help bridge the gap with Kirklin’s fundraising and inspire other organizations to offer responsible donations.

Clinton County Commissioner Steve Woods said he believes it’s important for Frankfort to continue to back other small towns.

“It’s amazing what has happened in Kirklin and we have to support that,” he said.

The council hopes this commitment will increase population growth throughout Clinton County, which would help county schools facing budget issues stemming from a lack of enrollment.

Dunn said housing is the main problem the community is facing, and he hopes watching the project continue through its phases will help resolve the problem and increase enrollment.