North Vernon breaks ground on housing development

NORTH VERNON — State officials along with those with the city of North Vernon broke ground Tuesday on Heritage Estates, a new residential development that will bring more than 100 new housing units to the Jennings County city.

North Vernon, which has not seen substantial residential development in more than 30 years, is using a $3.1 million READI grant and a public-private delivery method to develop much-needed new housing to the community and the region.

“Residential development in rural cities, like North Vernon, has been a difficult issue to solve, but we were determined to find a solution,” said Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Gerkin, who spearheaded the project. “Bringing new, quality housing to North Vernon positions our city to grow for the first time in years. This will benefit our businesses and our residents alike. Additional housing enables businesses across the region to attract and retain top talent, and population growth leads to more dining and shopping options for our residents.”

The $3.1 million READI grant, which the city secured as a member of the South Central Talent Region, will help fund the infrastructure development for this project.

This project would not be possible without the public-private partnership formed among the city of North Vernon, North Vernon Redevelopment Commission and private sector partners DC Development and HWC Engineering, city officials said. The partnership will utilize the Build-Operate-Transfer method to deliver the project.

In the region’s READI plan, employers noted that access to quality and diverse housing was a top barrier to attracting and retaining talent. The additional 100-plus new units will provide much-demanded housing that will not only benefit North Vernon but the entire region, city officials said.