By Ann Marie Shambaugh
They took the Perry Township land battle all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court, but officials from Zionsville and Whitestown say there’s no bad blood between the towns.
Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak – who became the town’s first elected mayor as a result of the reorganization with Perry Township – said he met with Whitestown Town Council President Eric Miller to discuss how their towns can work together in the future.
“There’s no animosity personally between us. (The Perry Township case) was just a decision that Whitestown felt they had to do and so did we,” Haak said. “(Miller) and I agreed to meet on a regular basis to talk about different things.”
Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said he still “stands on its belief that the statute was misused” and that town officials may ask the state legislature to consider taking another look at the law. But he also said he didn’t feel as though the towns’ relationship was “necessarily strained” even during the court battle.
“I think the negative perception comes from those antagonists on either side, people who just want to cause dissension and issues,” he said.
Now that Zionsville’s territory wraps around Whitestown on the east and west it’s even more important for the towns to get along, he said.
“Now as a matter of fact to get to west rural Zionsville you have to go through Whitestown, so we’d better have a close working relationship,” Norton said, adding that the towns have long had agreements for their public safety agencies to help each other out.
Haak said he is working with Whitestown officials on various projects, including the renaming of the Rail Trail as it’s known in Zionsville and the Farm Heritage Trail as it’s known in Whitestown to The Big 4. The name change for the trail – which is planned to eventually stretch across the county – was originally suggested by a countywide group, but Haak said one reason he supports it is because it is “a fairly easy way to unify the county symbolically.”
Norton said the towns may also partner to rename County Road 700 E, which runs north and south through both municipalities.
“We wouldn’t have a road be named three different names,” Norton said.