Dear Village Residents,
Let’s just say it, February was pretty brutal. Record-making snowfall, frigid temperatures, shoveling sidewalks and driveways… it almost made me want to just curl up indoors with a warm fire and wish for another worldwide shutdown. Almost.
Now that those aged 60 and above are eligible for the vaccine, and even some older than 55 are able to get it, there’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. While there are a lot of factors still unknown, such as the number of vaccines that will be available to Hoosiers and the number of people willing to be vaccinated, it’s an optimistic future.
And so – with optimism – we’re scheduling a virtual VRA meeting for March 16 at 7:30 p.m. We have lots of things to discuss such a co-working space coming to Main Street, how to help Zionsville businesses, and an update on a conservation ordinance (more details in Town Council President Josh Garrett’s letter). All of these topics have the potential for a more optimistic future for our Village. I invite you to come with an open mind and prepared to ask relevant questions.
We’ll continue to have periodic meetings virtually until we can meet safely in person. If you have ideas for an upcoming meeting topic or if you have thoughts about a distanced social event, please reach out.
As we march into the month (see what I did there?), let’s continue to look out for one another and encourage neighbors to attend a virtual meeting. If you know of someone new to the Village, let them know about our newsletter so that we can all continue to be informed residents.
I hope by the time you’re reading this that the last gasp of winter is making its way out and small signs of Spring are on their way.
Before we moved to Zionsville 13 years ago my wife and I lived near downtown Indianapolis. Given the time that has passed since we left the city, you sometimes forget some of the many things that make Zionsville so special. Even little things like having your neighborhood streets plowed can be taken for granted. I remember snow storms in Indy would see neighborhood streets and alleys untouched with the snow remaining on them until the sun took care of it. There were constant challenges in driving and parking, even leaving one’s garage became an adventure.
Our local street crews, led by DPW Superintendent Lance Lantz, have done a wonderful job staying ahead of the weather and doing everything possible to keep the roads cleared. It may not always be perfect during heavy snow, but I’ve found the roads to be very passable and clear shortly after these snow storms have left. I was reminded of the difference in experiences when I watched a local news story about neighbors in Indy banding together to hand shovel their roads.
Speaking of special things, I wanted to give a special shout out to the Zionsville Historic Preservation Committee and their efforts towards creating a district within the Village. I know this topic has been approached in the past and has not been successful for various reasons. The Committee has listened to concerns from neighbors and Council and has put together an ordinance that I think is both reasonable and accomplishes the goals that were originally communicated. Between communication efforts, surveys, research and writing a draft ordinance, I see this as an excellent opportunity to be successful.
Special thanks to:
- Mark Walters
- Chelsea Overbeck
- John Tousley
- Marianne Doyle
- Mark Zelonis
- Ralph Stacy
- David Malcom
- Heather Lusk
- Lisa Sandy
In speaking with the Committee, they also wanted to make sure I recognized all the volunteers who gave their time to assist us as well, such as block captains and those who went door to door to canvas. The Committee also received some funding from individuals to help with mailing and printing expenses. I suppose it’s too corny for me to say it takes a village.
I also wanted to thank Councilor Joe Culp, District 4, for leading the efforts from the Council side. He has worked well with the Committee and has both listened and given input to provide a better product, which is all you can ask from an elected official.
Here’s to a happy Spring and herd immunity!
Town Council President – District 5 Representative
State of the Town
The last week of February, Mayor Styron gave a State of the Town address. You can watch it on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcGYu2ZPpVw. If you don’t have time to watch the hour-long video, here’s a brief summary of topics covered.
The town worked closely with the Boone County Health Department to address the pandemic as soon as it began to impact Indiana and continues to review and adapt processes.
Creekside Corporate Park
Rahal Lettermen Lanigan will be building headquarters here soon.
Planning and Economic Development
The town created a grant program to local businesses impacted by the pandemic and has awarded nearly $400,000 in economic assistance.
Chamber of Commerce
The group created an event, Night on the Bricks, to let people dine outdoors and help local shops and restaurants.
Town committees and commissions continued via Zoom, and the town experienced a record number of attendees and engagement as a result. Styron expects this method will continue.
We’ve got a lot of open area (at the entrance) that is waiting for investmentMayor Styron
The external companies working on the project with a next step to work with town council and the plan commission to vet what was learned in the session and create a redevelopment plan. She said the Farmers’ Market will return to the bricks to help businesses, with a goal to create a space at the entrance that drives people to visit downtown Zionsville.
Wayfinding Master Plan
The plan is meant to get people to take part in the amenities and experiences we have here.
The town added a CFO and created a Constituent Liaison role. Adding these positions will “professionalize” the workforce according to Styron by adding those with “professional-level skill sets.”
A dog park was added. There have been other renovations and updates on town-owned buildings and invasive species reduction. A community center will be explored in 2021 and Overley-Worman Park will break ground March 8.
The police department has added implicit bias training for personnel and provided a series of diversity-related conversations among other actions. The mayor has worked to create more diversity with town appointments.
Roundabout on 875 was completed, but a new roundabout at Oak Street and CR 850 is coming soon. CR 400 and 500 South will be widened in 2021.
Oak Street sewer project, sidewalks along Oak Street to Whitestown, micro grants, climate action plan (to be implemented in 2021) and a future Wolf Run Nature Reserve.