A Look Ahead: 2024 to mark completion of big projects in Fishers


Some big projects were completed in Fishers in 2023 — Geist Waterfront Park, for example — but the past year was marked more by the start or continuation of projects that are set to be completed in 2024 and beyond.

“We knew that ’23 was going to be a year, not so much about introducing new ideas, but executing well on the ideas that we have already introduced,” Mayor Scott Fadness said. “So, when you think about City Hall now, if you drive by, you can see clearly that we’re getting closer — looking at a May timeframe for that to open in ’24 — and then the Event Center is up and out of the ground.”

The approximately $23 million City Hall at 1 Municipal Dr. will house more than just city offices. It will have a theater and art gallery, and space for programs offered by the Indianapolis Art Center.

“That’s going to be incredible, to have people come in and literally have access daily to world-class art classes is really kind of extraordinary,” Fadness said. “I love the idea of being able to walk into work and see a bunch of people pursuing their passions on the first floor of City Hall.”

The $170 million Event Center broke ground in spring 2023 and has an expected completion date of fall 2024. The 8,500-seat facility will be home to CHL hockey team Indy Fuel and the newly named Indoor Football League Team Fishers Freight, both owned by Hallett Sports and Entertainment. The facility, which also will be able to host concerts and other events, will be managed by ASM Global.

“I get the kind of insider’s look at planning for the opening of that and that’s going to be — it’s going to be incredible,” Fadness said. “Things are already in the works for the first year of that facility. I just can’t wait to share with the Fisher’s residents those experiences.”

Fadness said the city is working on designs for the planned new White River Park so work can start on that in the coming year, and he talked with pride about the city’s parks in general.

“I don’t know that we always stop and take stock of the assets that we actually have,” he said. “I think we have probably one of the best, if not the best, park systems anywhere in the State of Indiana, and would rival a lot of places in the Midwest.”

Fadness said there are some projects and programs that will be reassessed for 2024. With Geist Waterfront Park, for example, there initially was concern that it would be overrun with crowds, which led to a $50-per-vehicle parking fee for non-Fishers residents to help manage anticipated crowds.

“We’re now evaluating the numbers and identifying, ‘OK, was that the right mark? Should we be looking at something different? What’s our approach to that?’” he said. “We’ll be working through that throughout the winter and hope to have a plan going into the spring to really activate Geist Waterfront Park to its greatest extent.”

Fadness said the city’s big focus in 2024 will be completing what is in process now, rather than starting a bunch of new projects.

“One of the things our team really prides ourselves on is doing hard things well, and we want to make sure the things we’ve already said we’re going to do, we finish and get them done and done appropriately,” he said. “That’s really our main focus right now. I think the team would probably throw me out a window if I came up with another four crazy ideas to go pursue right now. So, right now it’s like, ‘OK, let’s get these done and done well.’”


The City of Fishers’ 2024 budget includes a lot of the usual stuff a city needs to take care of, along with some programs that Fadness said he’s excited to start.

The $164 million spending plan includes about $12 million in one-time costs to expand trail connectivity, improve neighborhoods and support education initiatives.

The budget includes $1 million for sidewalk repairs, which Fadness admits sounds mundane, but is actually very important to residents.

“When people walk out their front door, if there’s a trip hazard on their sidewalk, that means something to them,” he said. “This million-dollar investment will really allow us to make a quantum leap forward in tackling those challenges.”

The city has a neighborhood vibrancy grant program that will help HOAs and other neighborhood groups make improvements they’ve identified as priorities. The budget for 2024 increased the amount available for that program.

The city’s budget also includes $500,000 for teacher innovation grants. That is a brand-new program, and Fadness said his administration is still figuring out the logistics through conversations with the school district.


The Fishers City Council had somewhat of a shift following the Nov. 7 election. The council said goodbye to three members who lost their bids for reelection, and welcomes three new members in 2024.

John DeLucia (R-NC District), Tiffanie Ditlevson (R-at-large) and Bill Stuart (D-SW District) will replace Crystal Neumann (D), Jocelyn Vare (D) and David Giffel (R), respectively. The election means a net loss of one seat for Democrats.

The new members were sworn in Dec. 19 and will attend their first meeting as elected officials on Jan. 16.

Incumbents who were reelected and took the oath of office for the coming term were Mayor Fadness (R), City Clerk Jennifer Kehl (R), and council members Cecelia Coble (R-at large), Brad DeReamer (R-NE District), Pete Peterson (R-SE District), Selina Stoller (R-NW District), John Weingardt (R-SC District) and Todd Zimmerman (R-at large).


Hamilton Southeast Schools will have a new superintendent in 2024 after Superintendent Yvonne Stokes resigned in September, in the middle of her contract. In a separation agreement negotiated with the board, Stokes will be paid her full salary for the final year of her contract, including an annuity and unused sick leave and vacation time. She also will continue to receive health insurance benefits through the district through 2024, unless she begins another job in that time.

Stokes was hired as the HSE superintendent in 2021 and was the district’s first Black superintendent. When she began in 2021, her contract included up to $187,500 annually in base pay and stipends.

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Matt Kegley was appointed interim superintendent while the school board started the search process for Stokes’ replacement.

During the board’s Dec. 13 meeting, President Dawn Lang gave an update on that process. She said the board had received 10 applications and planned to interview five in January. She said they hope to make an offer to one of those five by the end of January.

Three Hamilton Southeast school board seats are up for election in 2024. They’re now held by Sarah Donsbach (Delaware Township), Sarah Parks-Reese (Wayne Township) and Suzanne Thomas (Fall Creek Township).

Donsbach and Parks-Reese have been dissenting voices on the board since the 2022 election, when a slate of four conservative challengers succeeded in their bids against the incumbents. Thomas has often taken a conservative stance for some of the more controversial topics, including changes to the district’s dress code.

In the Nov. 7 election, voters overwhelmingly approved a new school district operating referendum that takes effect in 2024. The new rate is a maximum of .1995 cents per $100 assessed value, which is lower than the referendum that was approved in 2016 that expired in 2023. Through the 2016 referendum, property owners have paid .2275 cents per $100 assessed value.

The referendum will provide annual revenue to the school district of about $24 million and means that district staff didn’t have to redo the 2024 budget. That budget is about $300 million, although that is a “not-to-exceed” figure that could change.