By Sadie Hunter
After years of continued growth with development projects, population and more, city officials said they’re prepping for another landmark year.
In 2017, Noblesville will continue projects begun in 2016 but also look to make improvements in roads, parking and traffic, parks, public safety and housing.
“(This) is going to be an exciting year for Noblesville, full of growth and projects that will have a lasting impact on our community,” Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear said. “There was quite a bit of change in Noblesville last year (and inside city hall with a couple new department directors and deputy mayor). While we accomplished a great deal, we are focused on continuing that momentum that is building in our city. Exit 210 and Hamilton Town Center is buzzing with development and interest. We are improving the walkability throughout the city through trails connections. We are putting into action a plan for the housing study, addressing infrastructure needs and working to finance major roadway projects.”
Ditslear also said the change in the trash fee ordinance allows the city to continue to move forward and address pivotal areas, like improving the downtown infrastructure and tree replacement program; increasing support of law enforcement and its crime-prevention efforts by hiring officers; intensifying funding of road repaving and sidewalk repair throughout the city; and replenishing the County Option Income Tax fund.
“We are working on ways to improve downtown Noblesville,” Ditslear said. “Our vision of downtown includes new mixed-use development for housing, retail and restaurants. There is interest there from developers, and providing more living options downtown would energize that area even more. The city will continue to work with the Parking Task Force on the newest study and options to address the parking situation on and around the square.”
In 2016, the city received Cultural Arts District designation from the Indiana Arts Council, making Noblesville the second city (with Carmel) in Hamilton County and seventh in the state to get the designation.
“Establishing the district encourages continued collaboration among our many creative organizations, events and historic and cultural assets,” Ditslear said.
Downtown improvements in 2017 also include the replacement of streetlights that will replace the old cast-iron lights with aluminum poles with banner arms, flower-pot hangers and electrical outlets. The city’s first order of 30 lights will be installed in early 2017.
“Other ways the city is looking at make downtown even more of an attraction include alley activation and activation of the White River,” Ditslear said. “These are under-used assets in the community that we will try to find new ways for the community to engage in.”
Major road projects like the complete overhaul of Ind. 37 through Noblesville and the extension of Pleasant Street are on the horizon, but Ditslear said a focus on infrastructure will be paramount in 2017 as these projects move forward.
“Infrastructure will be a major point of emphasis next year as we continue to work, plan and design an east-west corridor and (Ind.) 37,” he said. “While financing these projects will be the major factor, the city will move forward by preparing the projects and the community for these necessary improvements.”
The largest road project slated for 2017 is the five-points roundabout at Greenfield Avenue, 10th and Christian streets, which will begin in early spring. The city expects the project to be completed by the end of the summer or early fall.
Noblesville’s annual road resurfacing project will take approximately $2.5 million to improve the roads that are in the worst shape throughout the city. Similar to the road resurfacing project is the alley program, which takes $500,000 to improve alleys in downtown Noblesville.
The city often says its highest priority is providing excellent public safety resources to its residents.
In 2017, the Noblesville Police Dept. is looking at creating a new shift.
“Traditional shifts have officers working 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” NPD Chief Kevin Jowitt said. “(The new shift) would allocate personnel to the busiest call times for the city.”
In line with becoming more efficient, the department also will hire two new officers.
“This increase will help accomplish the goals from NPD’s most recent strategic plan by developing data-driven crime reduction and targeted enforcement programs (including a crime analysis unit, crime intelligence officer and problem-oriented policing unit),” Jowitt said. “These additions also will allow us to identify specific problems we’re having and develop intelligence-driven data to help point us toward effective enforcement strategies. The targeted enforcement unit would then be tasked to implement those strategies related to specific problems we are having in Noblesville on a week-by-week or day-to-day basis.
“With retirements and promotions, the department is developing several new lieutenants and sergeants,” Jowitt said. “NPD will apply a new ‘district model’ of patrolling, with the city divided into three areas and officers assigned to that specific area for one year. This allows officers to connect with residents on a more personal level and provide greater insight on crime trends and how to deal with them.”
Also growing its staff is the Noblesville Fire Dept., which will hire someone to fill the new deputy chief position. All other new hires will come from filling positions created by retirements.
“The fire department also will be replacing its 25-year-old aerial platform (Ladder 71), buying a new engine and a new ambulance,” NFD Chief Greg Wyant said. “The department also is purchasing all new air packs (SCBA) that are needed for fighting fires.
PARKS & RECREATION
After years of planning what the city said will serve as a western gateway to downtown Noblesville, Federal Hill Commons will open in 2017.
With a grand opening date set for April 29, Parks Director Brandon Bennett said the parks should be open within the next month or two, and once all construction material is moved and weather allows, Federal Hill will be open to the public with regular park hours of 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“(Guests of the park) can expect a number of themed events, free and ticketed concerts, the farmers market, Shakespeare in the Park, weekly lunchtime music programs, fitness on the lawn and a whole series of events and activities,” Bennett said. “The park also will be available for rent for corporate or business outings and events. We will have a rentable building (formerly First Merchants Bank) that can be used for corporate sponsor VIP space, a beer and food garden and a green room for concerts, as well as meetings and other corporate events.”
City-wide, Bennett said with opening Federal Hill Commons, starting construction on Finch Creek Park and Noblesville Fieldhouse, a new community development manager will be hired to “develop sponsorship opportunities and guide parks marketing efforts.” The city also has requested funding to renovate Southside Park with new basketball courts and goals, a baseball diamond, new benches and playground equipment.
In the past several years, communities have been looking to expand their trail networks, and Noblesville is no different.
“We are always looking to provide more trail connectivity throughout the city,” City Engineer John Beery said. “We follow our Noblesville Alternative Transportation Plan (NAT) to guide us on trail priorities and connections. As the population grows in Noblesville, we must ensure connectivity to those residents who build homes and move into town.”
In 2017, Beery said the city will begin construction in the spring on the Levee Trail and Little Chicago Road, expected to be complete by late summer. Also beginning in 2017 is the first phase of the Midland Trace Trail, extending from Gray to Hazel Dell roads.
PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
“A great deal of dirt will turn in 2017,” Noblesville Public Affairs Manager Robert Herrington said. “In terms of completed city projects, the Riverwalk Phase III and Federal Hill Commons will open. Developments under construction that we look forward to seeing are BlueSky, Embassy Suites and the potential Riverview Health expansion; however, those timelines are not in our control. And stay tuned to learn more about residential projects coming soon.”
The city’s wastewater department will begin the fourth phase of its long-term control plan in 2017.
“Currently, one pipe transports both stormwater and waste to the treatment plant,” Ditslear said. “This project will provide stormwater separation on the north side of Old Town. New sewer pipe on Wayne Street will deposit stormwater into the White River. This helps to lower the volume at the plant. Logan, Clinton and Wayne streets should also see a significant difference with stormwater drainage.”
In addition, the wastewater department also will continue its phosphorus removal project. In 2016, the city conducted a phosphorus removal pilot at its wastewater treatment plant, and now, staff is working to make tank modifications, which will cost approximately $6.5 million.
In October, the Noblesville Common Council approved the 2017 operating budget of $70,661,478 with a general fund of $46,273,223. The budget includes a minimum 2 percent pay increase for city employees, the first pay raise in three years. Public safety accounts for 56 percent of the budget, and $2.35 million will go toward road resurfacing and sidewalk and trail improvements.
A look back at business in 2016
2016 business attractions
- American Feeder ($1.6 million investment)
- Golars Environmental Engineering (Purchased former Golden Corral on Ind. 37)
- Embassy Suites and Conference Center ($30 million investment)
2016 business expansions
- Noble Industries ($6.1M capital investment)
- Blue Sky Technology Partners, LLC ($5.5M investment)
- Abrasive Waterjet ($2.35M investment)
- Verdure Sciences ($3M investment)
- Parker Mortgage Team ($400,000 downtown renovation)
- Spectra Tech ($700,000 investment)
- Metro Plastics ($6M investment)
- Kahlo Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Ram
- Imavex Internet Marketing
- Interactive Digital Solutions
- DAKSWAN Automation Inc.
- Helmer Scientific
- Riverview Health
- Broccoli Bill’s
Businesses opened in 2016
Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Tom Wood Volkswagen, Primanti Bros., Golars Environmental, Noodles & Co., Jimmy Johns, Starbucks (Clover Road), ABC & 123 Learning Center, Plumbing and Heating Paramedics, Teachers Credit Union, Samano’s Taqueria, Evereve, Tenth Street Photography, Caplinger’s Fresh Catch, Little Gypsie Boutique, American Vapor Distribution, 500 North Boutique, Anytime Fitness, Indy, Custom Cabinets, First Community Mortgage (Prosperity Drive), Suburban Home Health LLC, Fit4Mom, uPaint Pottery Studio, Barker Hancock & Cohron, LLC, Law Office of Casandra J. Nelson, Mailbox Express Pack-n-Ship, Indy Warrior, Sleep Solutions
Blackmore and Buckner roofing, IU Health Primary Care Clinic, Miracle Ear, Soho Nails, Red Wing Shoes, Nameless Catering, Caring Transitions, Marco’s Pizza, Hoosier Futbol Club (built new indoor training facility), EnPointe Indiana Dance Studio, REMAX Legacy Noblesville, Chicago Tile Indiana, Bill’s Dirty Dog Spaw, The ELAM group , Noble West Pet Hospital, Lil Bloomers, Butterfly Boutique, 9 Round, European Wax Center, Englin’s Shoe Rack
Businesses to open in 2017
- Embassy Suites and Conference Center
- Duluth Trading Company
- BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
- Chipotle Mexican Grill
- Potbelly Sandwich Shop
- Arbor Grove Hospital
- IU Health at Noble West
- Blue Sky Technology Corporate Headquarters
- Giant Eagle Get-n-Go Fuel and Convenience Store
- Shoppes at Terry Lee Crossing – Dental One, Cellular Connection
- Panera Bread