President’s Message

I recently decided to step down from my role as VRA President. I am pleased to announce that Sara Martini, current VRA Vice President, stepped into the VRA President role. Thanks to each and every one of you for the support that you have provided me. I feel good knowing Sara will receive that same support.

Todd Rech

February VRA Meeting Recap

Special Thanks to Myrene Brown who did a great job as the guest speaker at the February 16 VRA meeting. Myrene shared how Zionsville earned the certification as a Community Wildlife Habitat and how residents can certify their property as a backyard wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.

She described the elements needed to support wildlife in our yards and encouraged the use of native plants. Myrene also discussed the application process.

Myrene is one of a six member team dubbed “Habitat CPR” whose purpose is to create, preserve and restore wildlife habitat in the Zionsville area. The team’s initial goal was to obtain the Community Wildlife Habitat Certification through the National Wildlife Federation. In the year 2000, Zionsville became the second community in the entire nation to receive that prestigious designation. Since then, she and the team have been spreading the word on how local residents can get their very own certification. Anyone interested in having their backyard certified should visit the Wildlife-Friendy Certification Program page. It would be great to see more backyards in the village with this important environmental designation.

Her team is currently working on the Monarch Project 2016. For more information, visit the Zion Nature Center or Myrene’s website.

Town Council Update by Joshua Garrett

I would like to thank all the 30 residents who joined Mayor Haak and myself on February 10th to talk through the plans for town hall. I spoke with the Mayor after the event and he said the VRA was the best group he had talked with in terms of your feedback and questions so kudos to you and your involvement.

I had hoped to play reporter during the event and try to capture as many questions as possible for the newsletter. It didn’t quite work out that way — turns out I don’t know short-hand very well, but I’ll do my best to discuss a few of the overall themes in this space. In no particular order we talked about:

1. Size of Town Hal

There were concerns about the size of the proposed building. Current Town Hall is 27,500 sq/ft and the new building is proposed at 42,000 sq/ft. Not all of that will be used exclusively for the Town but does allow for expansion as needed.

2. Location of Town Hall

One debate is the location of the building at the front or back of the property. The back location was chosen for a number of reasons including the option to sell off the front property to appropriate development, building a central road for improved safety, connecting to the rail trail and overall costs. The feedback during the process also leaned towards the back location.

3. Design of the Building

The design of any important building is always a debate. Ask 50 people and you’ll get 50 different opinions. The theme of the building was to balance cost conscious and an appropriate design. The building that was used as a model was our library, a large building in the village that still seems to fit into the neighborhood. There are still a few tweaks going on that may reduce some of the cost such as the columns.

4. Layout of the Building

Much of the interior of the building was designed based on input from departments as diverse as fire, economic development and finance. They have created a building that both serves the community and the function of government at the same time, with an added bonus of serving as a command center in a disaster. It makes us more efficient in how residents are served. You can view more of the layout on the town website.

5. Cost of the Building/Project

Everyone agrees this is a lot of money and should be considered seriously. The building is $8.3 million while the overall project is $9.8 million (down from original estimate of $10.4 million). The financing from the project is coming from a variety of sources including TIF revenues, CCD (Cumulative Capital Development), COIT (County Option Income Tax), and Food and Beverage Tax. As the TIF increases in revenue the other options will be used less or the debt will be paid off sooner.

6. Alternatives for the Project

Renovation of the existing Town Hall would cost over $3.5 million and would only give an extra 10 years to the building. It also wouldn’t address the needs for additional room for departments that are out of capacity. In addition the renovation would force the town to be in temporary offices during that time at an additional cost of $400K. Other locations were looked at but either weren’t feasible (downtown) or could be used for better uses (Creekside Corporate Park).

I’m happy to announce everyone was in full agreement after the meeting with going forward. Okay, that didn’t happen, but I was very pleased to have the information presented. There has been a lot of information circulating about this project, some true, some not. The most important thing is everyone has the same facts and figures which they can then make their own determination.

I would certainly admit we as a Town and Council can always do better getting information out to residents and getting feedback. You have my commitment to help make that better for all our benefit.

Chamber of Commerce Awards by Kathy Scales Brown

We’re just back from two weeks of sand, sun and surf (where my hair took a beating) on our way to the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner when David says “Your hair looks terrible!” Seriously, David?!?!? So I snapped back, “I’ve had no time to get it cut. Who the heck is going to notice me among 200+ attendees?!?!?”

Dinner is over. The keynote speaker has spoken. Awards will be presented next. Sherman Burdette of Fox 59 is reading a description of the first winner. I’m cozy with my coffee, mind wandering. Suddenly the person on my left slaps me and says “That’s you!” and I hear “Our 2016 Volunteer of the Year is . . .Kathy Scales Brown!” Now the entire room is looking for me, clapping and cheering. I’m pulled to my feet and pushed toward the stage. So much for thinking no one is going to notice me… Blindsided!!!

And then a blindside for another VRA member: “The winner of the 2016 Start-Up of the Year (Clear Software) is . . . Jon Gilman!” A stunned Jon makes his way through the cheering crowd to the stage. David and I feel like proud parents of this young man from zWORKS who lives on Poplar Street and immediately volunteered his and Lyndsay’s home for our Progressive Dinner in December within minutes after I met him.

When the Village Voice editorial committee asked if I would “volunteer” to write about these awards, I never hesitated because I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for me to say “Thank You” to my fellow VRA members who also give of their time and skills. I see you at Lion’s Park. At the Farmer’s Market and the SullivanMunce. At the library and our schools. You deliver for Meals on Wheels. You volunteer with The Arc. You help teach inner-city children in Indy to read. You lead hiking groups. You volunteer with CruZionsville and Z’Sparkle. We are a Village of non-stop volunteers.

To all of our new families who have chosen to make the Village your home, I salute you too. As soon as the moving van pulls away, there you are asking “How can I get involved? Where can I volunteer?”

One of my favorite quotes is from Alice Waters (American chef, restaurateur, activist and author): “Activism is my rent for living on the planet”. For me, it’s volunteering.

From Left: Lyndsay and Jon Gilman, Kathy and David Brown

Meet Your Neighbor: Deb Keller by Mike Mindel

Deb Keller was living in Zionsville outside of the Village. With her two children away at college, she was looking to downsize and move into the Village so she could walk to restaurants, shops and yoga classes. At the same time, the Fitzgeralds, living on Walnut Street, were expecting their third child and looking for a larger house with a larger yard. They bought each others’ houses.

In 2013, before she moved in, Deb had the house renovated inside and out. On the exterior, the roof line on the front half of the house was returned to its original design. New windows were installed at the original locations and of the original size. The interior was opened up for better flow.

Deb shares the house with her dog and two cats. You can see her regularly walking her Shetland Sheep Dog, Cooper, in the evening and on weekends. Deb is a certified yoga instructor but is currently too busy to teach classes. Deb is the CEO of a pharmaceutical development company headquartered in central Indiana.

Youth Art Month in Zionsville

Youth Art Month (YAM) is an annual observation each March to emphasize the value of art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs. Established in 1961, Youth Art Month provides a forum for acknowledging skills that are fostered through experience in the visual arts that are not possible in other subjects offered in the curriculum.


  • To direct attention to the value of art education which develops divergent critical thinking; multicultural awareness; as well as technical, communication, and expressive skills
  • To increase community, business, governmental support for art education
  • To recognize art is a necessity for the full development of a better quality life for all people
  • To expand art programs in schools and stimulate new programming
  • To increase community understanding and interest in art art education through involvement in art exhibits, workshops, and other creative ventures
  • To provide additional opportunities for individuals of all ages to participate in creative learning
  • To encourage commitment to the arts by student, community organizations and individuals everywhere
  • To recognize art education as a viable component in the total education curricula that develops citizens of a global society
  • To reflect demonstrate the goals of the National Art Education Association that work toward the improvement of art education on all levels
  • To build the recognition and self-esteem of student artists as true artists in their own right

Artwork created by students of the Zionsville Fine Arts Department (Grades 1-12) will be on display throughout the month of March at establishments in and around the Village.

Youth Art Month First Friday Receptions
will be held on Friday, March 4, 2016, from 5-7 pm at
Sullivan Munce Cultural Center, Peace Through Yoga, and Art in Hand.
Everyone is invited!

Free Art Classes will be held at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library during the month of March.
Additional information and registration is available on
the library events calendar.

March 5 @ 11am -12 noon
Myart presents “Fanciful Giraffe” / Grades K-6

March 12 @ 10 am – 11 am
ZFAD presents “Tissue Paper Transfer-Working with Color and Pattern” / Grades K-12

March 19 @ 12 noon – 2pm
Sullivan Munce Cultural Center presents “Cultural Masks” / Grades K-4

Please “LIKE” the Zionsville Fine Arts Department /ZFAD/ Facebook Page
for updates throughout the Month of March.

ZCS Fine Arts Department would like to thank
the community of Zionsville for its support of Art Education.

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