TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO-WAWV) — Terre Haute is continuing economic developments across the city with the casino, a new police department and a new convention center soon to be a reality; however, two months into the new year, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt.
“Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley are in this wait-and-see mood. 2020 was a difficult year and those impacts can last until this year and 2022,” Gerry Dick of INside Indiana Business said.
According to Dick, the hardest hit sectors in Vigo County were the restaurant and hospitality industries. With renovations on some projects and the start of construction on others, the hope is to create more tourism.
Dick said evaluating the current state of struggling businesses is key in helping others grow.
“It’s critical for those restaurants, tourism, and entertainment venues to stay open and ultimately grow. You’re right, now the real opportunity for Terre Haute is starting to play,” Dick said.
With an increase of development and jobs, potential employees will be in need of housing.
According to the Indiana Association of Realtors, West Central Indiana is seeing the lowest inventory of housing in recent years.
“It’s an economic development issue,” Kristin Craig, President of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, said. “When bringing in new businesses, we’ve got to think about the people it’s bringing in and where those people are going to live,”
Possible options include revitalizing or the construction of new neighborhoods.
Besides setbacks due to the virus, Dick said Indiana finds itself in the top 20% across the nation in building a diversified economy.
“Kind of some tea leaves that may suggest that Indiana is positioned certainly as well in some cases maybe better than other states to come out of this pandemic,” Dick noted.