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Eli Lilly's planned Boone County expansion causing controversy

eli lilly lebanon board meeting
Posted at 11:45 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 23:49:19-05

LEBANON — A billion-dollar expansion in Boone County is still at the center of a bigger discussion. Eli Lilly is in the process of developing manufacturing sites that are expected to bring thousands of jobs and more people to the area.

But not everyone is on board.

At Monday night's city council meeting, some explained why this would hurt the county.

"Unlike what it seems, this is not my favorite use of my time. Presenting and arguing with my local city officials," said a woman at the meeting.

"I can guarantee you that somewhere in the records for Boone County, there is a right of way for this section of Whit Road. I've just not found it yet," said another woman at the meeting.

Multiple people were upset and confused as to why the city of Lebanon would move forward with a development plan that some say would not serve the city positively.

"If you shut down 300, how is that going to work to get an ambulance down there?" said a man at the meeting.

"Our forefathers paid for that road to be built. Who's going to pay for the new road if Lilly gets their way? Is IEDC or our taxpayer dollars going to pay for that?" asked another woman.

"If the question comes up, well who's paying for all those road segments? That's part of the incentive package being offered to Eli Lilly to improve those roads. So that's not a cost that the City of Lebanon is going to have to consider," said developer Derek Warren.

The council heard from developers about Eli Lilly’s plans to move forward with an expansion that will consume more than 600 acres of land in the city and bring thousands of jobs to Boone County.

That plan will include widening roads near the development to support the influx of traffic that will follow. That plan is concerning to local farmers.

“The construction of the new Lilly buildings and all of the employment will put our local farmers at risk when they have to use surrounding roads to move their equipment from one field to another," said a man at the meeting.

Developers expressed before the council their part in spending months conducting studies to ease some of those famers worries.

The next council meeting is February 13. After the council, the planning committee will vote on the plan February 21.

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