Moving Forward: Mayor Chris Jensen emphasizes progress during State of the City address

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Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen couldn’t have asked for a better introduction at his third State of the City address.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch described her friend as the best mayor in the state.

“I want to commend Mayor Jensen for the work you are doing and the projects you have put in place to promote and support that quality of life in Noblesville,” Crouch said at the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce luncheon Sept. 28 at the Embassy Suites’ Conference Center in Noblesville.

One of things Crouch said she was most proud of is Jensen standing up for those many Hoosiers struggling from mental illness and addiction.

“We all know those Hoosiers who have faced those challenges, particularly since the pandemic, some are our own family members. My family is no exception,” Crouch said. “My mother suffered from depression, my sister committed suicide, my brother is (an) alcoholic. Those Hoosiers with inherited genes and predisposed to those conditions deserve an opportunity to be successful.”

Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch converse during the State of the City address Sept. 28 at the Embassy Suites’ Conference Center in Noblesville. (Photos provided by city of Noblesville)

Jensen has a podcast called “Mental Health Monday” that was started in the spring of 2020 during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The show can be found on the City of Noblesville’s website.

“I simply go on Facebook Live and tell you my feelings,” Jensen said. “It can be super awkward at times, but I’ve tried my best to be vulnerable. I figure if a male Republican living in Hamilton County, married with four kids, can share his feelings in front of anyone who wants to watch, hopefully that makes it easier for one of you to share your feelings and helps process through them.”

In addition, Jensen shared some of the business development accomplishments of his time in office.

Jensen recalled his first State of the City, when he shared a parable about chasing and successfully battling a lion with the tagline “if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

“That sounded great two-and-a-half years ago to a young neophyte mayor two months into a term, having no clue what was around the corner and then a global pandemic hits,” he said. “I’m proud of the past two-and-a-half years. With the help of great department heads, great local leadership, great citizens, we have been able to chase that lion.”

Jensen said if people have been frustrated by traffic and cones, “that’s progress, and it takes time.”

“As of July 2022, over the past two-and-a-half years we’ve been in office, we’ve announced over $1 billion investment in the City of Noblesville,” said Jensen, who announced before the State of the City that he will run for a second term. “That’s an incredible landmark for our community. We’re proud of that statistic, so we’re going to flaunt it.”

Innovation Mile is a master-planned business district. It is a nearly 300-acre site along the 141st Street corridor from Olio Road to Prairie Baptist Road. Innovation Mile is designed for innovative companies and med-tech, technology and advanced manufacturing companies.

“These are the companies that have the jobs of tomorrow that want to locate in central Indiana,” Jensen said. “We want to make sure they land in Noblesville.”

Jensen said Innovation One, a med-tech group comprised of Certus Medical and Radiological Care Services, announced plans to build its new headquarters in Noblesville earlier this year. BorgWarner’s Noblesville Technical Center was the first facility to locate in Innovation Mile.

Innovation One will build 90,000 square feet of new medical equipment manufacturing and flex space with a total capital investment of $12.6 million, Jensen said.

Jensen announced another addition to Innovation Mile as Indiana Joint Replacement Institute will construct an approximate 35,000-square-foot ambulatory surgery center and medical office building dedicated to hip and knee joint replacements.  The facility will be two stories and include four operating rooms with the ability to expand if needed.

“We realize that advanced technology companies are looking to relocate here – companies that focus on growth and creativity. We want to make sure we are fostering that innovative spirit,” Jensen said. “The vision for the district is to become a work, play, engage and learn community designed to drive growth from commercial, flex, office, and light industrial uses within the city’s targeted industries.”

Jensen said there is a pressing need for livable and walkable options next to Hamilton Town Center, an open-air mall. Playing an important role in that is Hyde Park, a 274-acre master plan development to encourage investment and foster economic development near Hamilton Town Center.

“This project provides an infusion of residential options near Exit 210 and several Noblesville attractions,” Jensen said.

Jensen also discussed two redevelopment projects aimed at enhancing gateways into the city.

RiverWest is a $118 million mixed-use development at the northwest corner of 146th Street and River Road. The project includes 102 townhome units, 28,800 square feet of commercial/retail space, 312 market rate apartment units and 132 age-restricted market-rate apartment units.

On the west side of Noblesville, Midland Pointe is a 34-acre mixed-use development at the southeast corner of Ind. 32 and Hazel Dell Parkway. Midland Pointe connects the Midland Trace Trail to an eclectic mix of commercial, residential and green space.

Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen speaks during the State of the City address at the Embassy Suites’ Conference Center in Noblesville Sept. 28. (Photos by Mark Ambrogi)

Pleasant Street project a priority

Mayor Chris Jensen also shared details about the Pleasant Street project during his State of the City address, saying the expansion of Pleasant Street is his No. 1 infrastructure priority.

Jensen said infrastructure is close to his heart because the Noblesville High School graduate worked in business development for a civil engineering firm before becoming mayor.

One project Jensen has been determined to undertake is the Pleasant Street corridor improvement from Ind. 37 to Hague Road in partnership with Hamilton County. Beaty Construction was awarded Phase I of the project, which will enhance Pleasant Street from River Road to 10th Street.

Jensen said utility relocation and construction of the bridge over the White River will begin this fall, and road construction will start in the spring of 2023. Phase I will be open to traffic by the end of 2024.

“We will break ground on the $125 million investment later this year to help traffic east-to-west in our community,” he said.

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