Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear announces dog park, Noblesville highlights at ‘State of the City’ address

Mayor John Ditslear provided his thoughts on the city’s highlights this year and made the announcement of a dog park proposed on safe Firestone property during the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 24. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

Mayor John Ditslear provided his thoughts on the city’s highlights this year and made the announcement of a dog park proposed on safe Firestone property during the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 24. (Photo by Robert Herrington)

For the past four years, city officials have been working with Firestone to improve the now vacant property. During his annual “State of the City” address to the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, Mayor John Ditslear announced plans to build the city’s first dog park on a portion of that land.

“The EPA’s requirement is that any reuse must be thoroughly reviewed before they will grant permission for that proposed reuse,” Ditslear said. “There is a 6.5-acre parcel of the Firestone property located off of Pleasant Street where the soil has been extensively tested for safety, and the EPA has determined that a dog park would be an acceptable use for this property.”

Ditslear the plans provide the first revitalization of the Firestone property and is an amenity the city doesn’t currently offer.

“As you can imagine, it has not been a quick process to reach this stage and we are pleased,” Ditslear said.

This project is unfunded and the city is exploring grants and other funding opportunities. Ditslear said one possibility is charging a small fee and using a security gate. The estimated cost is $600,000 which includes the fenced area, parking lot, places to sit, restrooms and dog obstacles. Once completed, Ditslear the area would fall under the supervision of the parks department.

“We continue to work with Firestone to explore potential options for future redevelopment of other areas of their property,” he said.

Other topics of Ditslear’s speech include:

Citizen survey: The city conduct these surveys every three years for community feedback and planning. The first was done in 2010, and the most recent one was done late last fall. “Early this year, we received the summary of results for the 2013 Citizen Survey. In three important categories, we rated higher in the 2013 survey than we did in 2010. In the 2013 survey, 93 percent of residents rated Noblesville’s overall quality of life as excellent or good. Ninety-six percent rated Noblesville as an excellent or good place to live; and 95 percent would recommend Noblesville to others.”

New construction: “(In the past year) there has been just over $41 million dollars’ worth of new commercial investment in Noblesville consisting of over 311,000 square feet. In addition, 31 new businesses have opened their doors in Noblesville during this time, which equates to hundreds of new jobs in the city.”

Ivy Tech: “To say that we are excited to have Ivy Tech in Noblesville is an understatement. This facility truly offers something for students of every age … I believe Ivy Tech will play a significant role in helping to improve adult educational opportunities.

Mass transit: “I believe that mass transit is something that we will need in order to help accommodate future growth, and I believe mass transit between Marion County and Noblesville will become a reality at some point in the future. Even now, we must provide additional mobility options—as well as improve existing options—within Hamilton County.”

● Federal Hill Park: “Here’s what I want to make clear about this project: this is not a situation of ‘oh, the city’s adding a new park.’ This is a situation of ‘the city is investing in order to encourage private development on the west side of the river’ … In addition to the economic benefits from the creation of Federal Hill, the park would also serve as a way to further connect the community with citizens.”

● Trail connectivity: “We are now ready to move forward with the first phase of the Midland Trace Trail, which consists of a section approximately two miles long from Gray Road to Willowview Road. The process of land acquisition is now beginning. I am pleased to say that we applied for and received funding to cover 80 percent of the land acquisition costs for this segment of the project.”

● Traffic: “Traffic congestion in the (Ind.) 37 corridor needs to be addressed, but I am also concerned about any potential effects of this project on Noblesville businesses. The latest proposed renderings for this project have changed over what they were initially, and access to businesses – both during and after construction – is improved over what was originally planned. This project is still in the early exploratory phase, so you will hear more about it in the future.

Crime: “We, like every other community, are concerned with the growing problem of drug addiction. Addicts need money every day in order to buy drugs. Because of their addiction, they are unable to keep a job, so some addicts resort to theft in order to pay for their drugs. The Noblesville Police Dept. does an excellent job at solving crime and catching criminals. They are also proactive through their efforts at educating the public on ways to avoid becoming a crime victim.”

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