The City of Fishers continues its campaign to improve mental health and Mayor Scott Fadness took his message to the Hamilton Southeastern School Board. The mayor, along with Fire Chief Steve Orusa and city Public Relations Director Autumn Gasior, reviewed the 8 action items being implemented, with Chief Orusa leading the way. The school corporation is a major player in the mayor’s efforts to improve mental health.
Board members asked Fadness about drug abuse and the connection with mental Health. The mayor said his task force tried to remain focused on the mental health component, but admitted the two are often intertwined. “In a suburban community, we have to stay vigilant on this issue,” Fadness told the board. “There are kids that are living in quiet despair and we need to concern ourselves with the fact that someday they could very well act out in a very violent and random way to demonstrate to the world just how badly they feel.”
School Superintendent Allen Bourff said the mayor is making a difference. A poll taken months ago by the schools indicated taxpayers would likely not favor a referendum tax increase to fund mental health programs. But as Dr. Bourff began engaging groups of people in his listening tour, he began to note more and more support for mental health programs among the people he encountered. “Many times, when we had the conversation, the supportive comments were tied back to the efforts at the city level to address the issue of mental health,” Bourff said. “When you rolled out your initiative back in November, it really helped our conversation.”
In other school board items from the February 10th session..
–The board gave preliminary approval to changes in school policy on home-schooled and non-public school students participation in HSE School programs. The board asked the staff to make some small changes to the proposed policy before final approval is given. You can read the proposed policy changes using this link. (The passages in red type are proposed changes)
–The Geist Half-Marathon organization was honored by the board. The group has become the largest percentage donor to the Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation, giving back over $366,000 to education.
“We are a great community and we are getting better.”
That’s the bottom line statement on the State of the City from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. The mayor also made some news in his speech, announcing two new economic development projects.
STANLEY Security plans on building a new headquarters in Fishers Point Business Park on the corner of Kincaid and Sunlight drives. Braden Business Systems plans to construct a 4-story structure at Municipal Drive and North Street in the downtown Nickel Plate District. The city says the combined projects are expected to bring more than $22 million in investment and jobs to Fishers.
Mayor Fadness said by close of business Thursday, Fishers will surpass all the economic development of 2015, and we are not even done with the month of February.
STANLEY plans an 80,000 square foot building with 300 jobs. Construction is expected to begin shortly after approval.
Braden plans to bring 70 jobs to its downtown location with 90 more workers possible by the year 2020. Braden plans to occupy 20,000 square feet of the new building, and the City of Fishers will master lease the remaining 15,000 square feet.
Here’s what the Fishers news release revealed about incentives being offered:
Both projects include an abatement and fee waiver agreement and will be considered at the City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 15. The Braden Business Systems agreement also includes the dedication of land for the new building. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has partnered with Braden Business Systems on the project as well.
Fadness talked about Cloud One, a high-tech company moving to Fishers, which has been described as the fourth-largest tech company in the state.
The mayor discussed a number of other issues during his State of the City address.
–He talked about TopGolf and IKEA coming to Fishers. He touted Launch Fishers as a job creator by hatching small business startups. All 13 business suites to be included in the new Launch building set for occupancy in March are already full.
–The Mayor praised city council members, calling it a “positive working relationship.”
–The State Road 37 project was highlighted during the speech. He called it “the largest infrastructure project in the history of Fishers.” The mayor pointed to the unique relationship among the State of Indiana, Noblesville and Hamilton County that resulted in the plan to upgrade this section of highway. “We will fix this corridor once and for all, while at the same time mitigating the costs to our individual residents here in Fishers, ensuring we have the upmost sensitivity to business owners along this corridor,” Fadness said. The mayor also touted the $217 million 5-year transportation improvement plan aimed to relieving traffic congestion in the city, with 72% of the money coming from state and federal funds.
–The Mental Health initiative was discussed as a way to help Fishers residents suffering with such illnesses. In 2014, there were 157 Fishers citizens detained because their mental illness posed a threat to themselves and/or others. In 2015, there were 211 such detentions. The mayor’s task force is implementing 8 specific recommendations to work toward dealing with mental health issues in Fishers.
–Fishers was recently named one of the safest communities in the nation, but the mayor says we cannot take safety for granted. Innovations are becoming the norm in Fishers public safety, he says. The city police department has developed an app to better communicate with the public. The fire department paramedic program, being proactive with area residents just released from the hospital, has been a success.
–The mayor praised the strong relationship between the local school corporation and the city, saying that alliance continues to form. A new Public Safety Academy will be created by the Fishers Parks Department, allowing high school students to have exposure to what local police officers and firefighters do. According to Fadness, “The line between city and school is continuing to blur.”
–The mayor plans to redevelop the 116th Street & Allisonville corridor, 96th Street and the downtown area to attack what he calls “urban decay.” He says this is largely due to demographic shifts and aging infrastructure.
–Finally, the mayor gave a shout-out to long-time Police Chief George Kehl, who plans to retire in September. The audience gave the chief a standing ovation.
While in the midst of February, it’s hard to imagine that spring is coming soon. Frankly, I find that a very nice thought.
The Fishers Parks Department is already gearing up for neighborhood projects ready to launch once the weather begins to change for the better.
For many years, Fishers has sponsored neighborhood programs and matching grants for older areas throughout the city. During last year’s spring season, volunteers were all over the Sunblest subdivision in a Saturday project to spruce up some of the homes there.
Below is a city news release on what Fishers is planning this year.
Spring is right around the corner, and the City of Fishers is once again providing opportunities for residents to unite behind neighborhood beautification projects. For the last 15 years the City of Fishers has provided support for community beautification through the Neighborhood and Tree Matching grant programs.
The Neighborhood and Tree Matching grants are two separate grants, and each has its own application:
The Tree Matching grant program awards funds to a city neighborhood, nonprofits and homeowners to plant trees in common neighborhood properties to enhance the beauty in our community.
The Neighborhood Matching grant incentivizes older neighborhoods within city limits to plan and complete a project that will either enhance its appearance or otherwise improve the community. In addition to beautification projects, neighborhoods can apply to receive matching grants to be used to accomplish community goals such as establishing a neighborhood crime watch program.
Applications for both grants are due by Friday, March 4 and can be completed online. Applicants interested in completing the Tree Matching grant can applyhere, and applicants interested in completing the Neighborhood Matching grant can apply here.
Any additional questions can be directed to Dan Domsic via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (317) 595-3151.
Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness is set to deliver his second State of the City Address at a Chamber of Commece luncheon Wednesday. The mayor’s office issued a statement today (2/9) indicating there will be two major economic development announcements contained in the speech. Here is the statement:
Mayor Fadness is expected to announce two economic development projects proposed for Fishers. The announcements include the relocation of two corporate headquarters, $22 million in investments and new jobs to Fishers.
The statement provided no further details.
The mayor talked about economic development in a podcast interview with LarryInFishers recorded last week. You can listen to the podcast at this link.
Motorists dealing with lane closures and restrictions on 106th Street at Allisonville Road may finally see it all end by Friday, if all goes as scheduled. Rick Farnham, Fishers Assistant Director of Public Works, told the city Board of Public Works and Safety Monday that work continues and could be done by Friday.
It all started December 27th, when a sewer line collapsed. That, in turn, caused a sinkhole to develop, destroying part of a sidewalk. There was also damage done to the traffic signal at the intersection, as well as the nearby lift station.
If weather cooperates, Farnham says all the repair work should be complete by Friday.
Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research just released a study on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) arrangements, saying $320 million is diverted from the local tax base in Indiana. Fishers has utilized TIFs for economic development, and Mayor Scott Fadness takes issue with many of the Ball State findings.
Michael Hicks, Director of the Center and one author of the report, argues in the study that the amount of property tax money diverted from schools could fund 2,400 teachers. Fadness says schools generally cannot use property tax money to fund teacher salaries, unless it is from a referendum approved by the voters.
Fadness believed the TIF “issue is much more complex.” He points to the two parking garages built in downtown Fishers, saying the commercial development that came with those structures would not have happened without TIF financing.
“This requires a thoughtful analysis,” Fadness says. The mayor has read news accounts of the Ball State report. Once he reviews the entire text of the report, he may comment further.
You can read Lindsey Erdody’s story about the Ball State TIF sudy at this link.