What’s next for Zionsville in 2015?
On Dec. 12, Chief Judge of the Indiana Court of Appeals Nancy Vaidik granted an order to expedite an appeal that was requested by the town of Zionsville in the case between Zionsville and Whitestown.
This order states that the appellee, Whitestown, must file its brief on or before Jan. 2, 2015. On Dec. 8 Zionsville filed its brief outlining reasons to expedite the case.
If Zionsville wins its case in the court of appeals, current Zionsville Town Council president Jeff Papa will become interim mayor for the year 2015. (He was chosen as such by the town council earlier this month.) After Papa’s time as interim mayor a full-time mayor would then be elected by Zionsville and Perry Township residents.
“The timeline for the appeal is really unknown,” stated Papa.
Q and A with Jeff Papa
Q: If the reorganization goes into effect, what should the mayor’s focus be in 2015?
A: The mayor’s focus in 2015 should be all of the executive functions, but most importantly to set up the function and flow of how the mayor’s office and powers should function and relate to the council and staff. The plan was crafted to prohibit the transitional mayor from running for a full term in 2015 so that the person selected would focus on setting up the best practices, not on reelection as mayor.
In 2015, the Village of Zionsville will see some changes. For one, several stores and restaurants will be making use of economic development and façade grants from the town.
- One place that is getting a facelift in spring 2015 is Ken Price’s Potpourri Building on North Main Street. The building’s First Street backside will likely be under construction when Price receives a façade grant from the town. The project is expected to cost more than $39,000.
- In May, My Sugar Pie owner Kelly Maucere is will go before the Zionsville Plan Commission to ask for approval of installing a refrigeration unit in her building.
- Vectren’s work in Zionsville is nearly complete, but there is still one section left of a project to upgrade nearly four miles of pipeline affecting 330 homes in the Village. According to Vectren’s Senior Operations Officer Brian Hall, Miller Pipeline has 3,000 feet of pipe left to replace. The project, which began in late summer, is scheduled to be completed by spring. West Pine Street, West Hawthorne Street, Laurel Street, 9th and 8th Streets are still left to repair.
- In 2015, zWorks, the first-ever co-working location in Zionsville is expected to open on or near Main Street. Co-founder and Zionsville resident Dan Moyers said, “One of the most important things that were trying to make sure comes through with what we’re doing is really about economic development but it’s sort of underpinned with co-working space.” To read more about zWorks, visit youarecurrent.com.
Some new storefronts will be opening in 2015, including but not limited to the new strip mall, called The Gateway Shops, on Michigan Road in front of Marsh Supermarket. This is being built by Sandor Constructions.
According to leasing agent Drew Kelly, of the six units being built, only one tenant, Art Van of Pure Sleep, is confirmed. One unit is listed under a pending lease contract with National Hair Salon. Four more units will be available for new tenants, with each space allowing for shop owners to lease up to 3,000 square-feet at a time, if units are combined.
Key features of the Gateway Shops:
- 11,814 square-foot retail center
- Flexible space sizes available to tenants signing earliest leases
- Adjacent to 24-hour Marsh Marketplace serving west Carmel & Zionsville
- Across from proposed Walmart
The Noblesville-based café and bakery, Rosie’s Place, had a soft opening on Dec. 19, and will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting in January. On the corner of Main and Cedar Streets, the café has renovated the former Eagle Creek Coffee Company location, and is still hiring kitchen and staff employees.
Zionsville school leaders started the Fix-It Coalition last spring to aid lowest-funded Indiana public schools by promoting legislative change to the state’s school funding formula. Zionsville receives $832 less per student than the state average funding from the legislated formula. Leaders of the Fix-It Coalition have proposed legislative solutions that do not negatively impact schools of poverty. They seek to fix their bottom-funded status because many have faced staffing losses that led to class size increases and program cuts.
“We have made serious cuts and sustained them to live within these means, but our students continue to miss out on important offerings found in many Indiana schools like Project Lead the Way (pre-engineering), International Baccalaureate Program and elementary physical education,” said Dr. Scott Robison, Superintendent of Schools.
Fix-It Coalition leaders plan to continue educating stakeholders and legislators about the consequences of their lowest funded status among Indiana’s public schools in 2015.
- School make-up days in 2015—Given last year’s heavy winter weather, Dr. Robison addressed school make-up days in a letter to parents on Dec. 17. He stated: “the first two snow days (if needed) would be made up in the first week of June per our school calendar.” He also noted that if the schools need more than two make-up days due to this winter’s weather, ZCS will determine how the schools are allowed to proceed with full state authorization, and then decide “what is best for ZCS students,” including the option of e-learning days.
- Also on the agenda for schools in 2015: completion of the high school’s new construction and completion of the storage facility behind Pleasant View Elementary. For more on these building projects, visit youarecurrent.com.
Although not technically a part of Zionsville, Whitestown is booming with development and growth. In 2015, the area of Anson will see expanded retail and restaurant options for Boone County.
Whitestown will be opening its new Pizza King come early January. According to the Whitestown Pizza King social media site the opening is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2015.
A large retail center is being contemplated in the town, but plans for construction may be as far away as 2016. Other, smaller outlets are scheduled to be complete in 2015 with one near the new Meier in Anson.
Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said, “There’s a couple of outlets, small strip centers; what they call power centers, coming. [There’s] one close to Meier. There’s one finishing up now and there will be another one coming along in 2016. Obviously there’s word of a potential major retail center coming in 2016. Not sure if we’re starting in ’16 or not. We’ll know something about that by mid-January.
Other projects planned in Whitestown for 2015 are mostly multi-family housing.
Plans for several projects for Zionsville’s streets are being planned for next year with much focus on the Creekside Corporate Park area. The Lids corporate headquarters will be getting modifications to its entrance and across the street internal roads will be constructed to help facilitate movement within the park.
“Beyond our annual repair projects is a modification to 106th street to improve the entrance into Lids corporate headquarters, which will be opening next fall as I understand,” Zionsville Supt. of Streets and Stormwater Lance Lantz said. “That entrance modification is also the starting point to Creekside Corporate Park. There may or may not be some degree of construction starting next year on that site development as far as interior roadways. The modification to Lids is certainly a go. That contract will be let in the spring. The redevelopment plan commission is taking a very aggressive approach to that in trying to determine exactly what they can afford to have constructed next year.”
The traffic light that is under construction at 116th and Main Street, which leads to Corporate Park via 116th, will be completed in early 2015.
“Our biggest problem we’re encountering right now is, due to the weather, the installation for the lane striping,” Lantz said. “People need to be told what the new lanes are for and given the cold temperatures it’s very difficult to put lane markings down. We’re currently working with our designers and contractor to come up with an approach that will allow that signal to go live as soon as possible and may require, internally, us painting lines frequently over the winter to keep them visible till the final product can be applied in the spring.”
Another street project coming 2015 is the construction of a single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Ford Road and Bloor Lane. The project was originally projected for 2014, but problems with a piece of property at the location delayed its construction.
“We ran into significant challenges in acquiring a piece of property that had gone for sheriff sale and then reverted to a bank owned property at a foreclosure preceding,” Lantz said. “We needed to obtain property on the southeast corner to accommodate the footprint of the roundabout and utility relocation. That house has since been secured and we are scheduling the demolition of that house in preparation for construction on that project to start in the spring.”
On Dec. 18, SmartIT announced its plans to relocate its headquarters to Zionsville, creating up to 85 new jobs by 2018.
An information technology staffing and solutions company, SmartIT will invest $4.5 million in the Northwest Tech Park, with the relocation to occur in early 2015. SmartIT already employs 160 associates in Indiana and has already started its hiring process for the new headquarters.
Did you know that in 2015, the federal government is likely to start taxing online purchases? According to a study done by Columbia University: “Many online merchants that do not collect sales tax have a pricing advantage over traditional stores that must, under law, collect sales tax. Online shoppers are supposed to submit payment for tax due, but almost no one does. As a result, many online purchases are tax-free and cheaper than in-store purchases.” Although the bill to stop this was stalled in the House of Representatives in July, it will be revisited in 2015. To read more about tax changes and loopholes in 2015, go to Dough page…
Sophie Pappas, James Feichtner, and Heather Lusk contributed to this report.