What’s happening in our City?
It’ was the dawn of a new era. A major transformation started with the city becoming a second class city effective January 1, 2012. The city now has a corporation counsel, controller and the former clerk- treasurer position became clerk. Council meetings no longer are under the direction of and run by the Mayor. Now council meetings are led by the Council’s President. The Mayor is no longer responsible for the ordinances and other items that appeared on the agenda. Now the Council President approves the agenda before it is sent out to council. Every item on the agenda must be sponsored by at least one council person.
January 1st, 2012, was also the day Mark Myers armed with a few new faces began the difficult task of capturing the runaway spending and getting the city back on track. The city had become stagnant but more critical, was quickly spending down savings. The Mayor’s new team was well educated and ready to roll up their sleeves and begin the difficult task of turning things around. The 2012 budget was reviewed. Department Heads were asked to find places they could make major cuts. Soon the Director of Operations position was transformed into a Deputy Mayor. Our Deputy Mayor, Corporate Counsel, Controller and department Directors have led the way in thinking outside the box, finding ways and resources to accomplish more without impacting our financial stability. We have become a leader in the State with our financial reporting and for the fifth year in a row has now received “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Report”. City employees are vibrant participants and very much responsible for many of the successes accomplished during the last six years. The runaway train has safely been captured and is now traveling a much more stable route.
MAYOR’S 2015 STATE OF THE CITY
In the Mayor’s State of the City on February 10th, 2015. Mayor Myers announced: Our sanitary sewer utility is solvent and compliant with state and federal environmental laws. Our storm water control is now managed by a new storm water utility which is complaint with state and federal environmental laws and OUR BUDGET IS BALANCED……GREENWOOD COLLECTS MORE EACH YEAR THAN IT SPENDS!
There are many special events and projects happening in the city every year….here are just few highlights of projects I have supported and insight as to how I am engaged in our community.
CITY CENTER TOWER
Our new City Center opened in April 2014. The City Center Tower was totally renovated and is a great example of how the administration and Council has worked together over the past several years in changing how we do business.
In 2014, it was forecast our new City Center would save our taxpayers $120,000 per year as a result of relocating the majority of our city employees under one roof. The total benefit to taxpayers in 2018 was $270,375. Moving our city offices to the City Center also provided an anchor and kick started interest in Old Town.
STREETS IN DISTRICT 1
Several streets in District 1 have been rebuilt from the road bed all the way up. Pearl Street had a total makeover including their sewers, sidewalks and storm water collection. Camby & Horton have benefited from these makeovers. New homes along Brewer Place, Fairview North Drive and Fairview East Drive are enjoying new curbs, under-drains and a new road surface this coming construction season. Residents have a new pride in their neighborhood and property values have increased.
CROSS WALK ADJACENT TO -MRS CURL’S
The addition of a cross walk has improved the safety of families crossing the street from the trail at old city park, to the trail leading to the amphitheater and Craig Park. ……this was a thought that I brought before the city.
OLD CITY PARK
Old City Park is undergoing a dramatic transformation thanks to the imagination and determination of our city leaders and planners. The centerpiece will feature a 20-foot cube tower……the first of its kind in our state and only one of three in the country. Other features will include pipe slides, spinners, a climbing wall and even a net for the younger challengers plus porch type swings for us older folks. A major promenade will be adjacent to Pleasant Creek.
MADISON AVENUE REDEVOPMENT
Also in 2018, phase one of the Madison Avenue redevelopment from Pearl Street to Noble Street was completed. The update included wide trails for pedestrians/cyclists to share, brick crosswalks and a pedestrian signal at Euclid Avenue. Next spring redevelopment of Madison Ave will expand north from Noble Street to Fry Road (where a center turn lane will be present).
E-COMMERCE EXCHANGE ZONE
I’m also excited regarding a new option I was able to bring attention to. It’s the new E-Commerce Exchange Zone created at Station 91. It’s a safe place in Greenwood for our residents to Buy, Sell or Exchange Goods. It also serves as a safe environment for custodial parents and non-custodial parents to exchange children. On occasion these exchanges can be volatile making it traumatic and a dreaded situation for children.
SCHOOL ZONE FLASHERS
In late 2017, I had conversations with teachers in Perry Township regarding the new flashers that had been installed adjacent to each of the school properties. These flashers quickly alert drivers they are nearing a school zone and are flashing only when children are present in the area. Often times drivers overlook the “School Zone” signage and their speed exceeds the 25 MPH limit. Issues related to school zones and school buses are a major safety concern. We need to do everything possible to keep our children safe.
I learned the flashers were available through a grant and quickly contacted our Deputy Mayor, Terry McLaughlin with the thought of us applying for these new flashers to alert drivers in our community. We were expecting these to be installed prior to the start of this year’s school year. However, State funding has been delayed and installation is now scheduled prior to the start of the 2020 school year.
DEFLECTIVE LIGHTING RESIDENTIAL VS. COMMERCIAL
I am hopeful we will include guidelines requiring deflectors on outside lighting of Commercial buildings….especially those that are adjacent up to residential housing. It’s our responsibility as a city to protect the investment of homeowners
MEMORIAL TO HONOR VETERANS, POLICE, FIREFIGHTERS AND EMT’s
Private Project, Another great addition adjoining Surina Way at Meridian Street will be the home of a memorial honoring our veterans, police, firefighters and EMT’s. A rendition is nearing completion. Our committee announced the creation of the memorial April 29th. Our fund raising efforts are going well. The projected dedication will be in June 2020, prior to the Freedom Festival. EVEN THOUGH THIS IS NOT A CITY PROJECT IT IS STILL VERY CLOSE AND DEAR TO MY HEART!
OTHER PROJECTS I HAVE SUPPORTED
- GROW PROGRAM
- VISIT INDY
- DOWNTOWN FAÇADE PROJECT
- MIDDLE SCHOOL ACQUISITION
- SURINA WAY EXTENSION
- OUR LADY OF GREENWOOD PARTNERSHIP
- GREENWOOD AMPITHEATRE
- NO SOLICIT STICKER & FREE STICKER
- DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS – NE CORNER OF MADISON & COUNTY LINE
- WESTERN REGIONAL INTERCEPTOR
- GREENWOOD STREET DEPARTMENT
- INDY SOUTH GREENWOOD AIRPORT
- GREENWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT
- JUSTICE CENTER
- STORM WATER MANAGEMENT
- DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC (DPW)
- PARKS DEPARTMENT – KID CITY & FREEDOM SPRINGS
- WASTE MANAGEMENT
- AMAZON RECEIVABLES CENTER – Opened in September 2019
- PITNEY BOWESS
- WAYFINDING SIGNS
- UPDATING GREENWOOD’S ZONING CODES
INFORMATION PROVIDED FROM THIS POINT FORWARD INCLUDES ADDITIONAL FACTS REGARDING THE ABOVE LISTED PROJECTS
Also in 2018, the GROW (Granting Revitalization and Opportunity for their Workplace) program was created to assist local businesses (not located within the façade program area) along Madison Avenue and Main Street in updating to restore and enhance their building/property. The enhancements are continuing to help reestablish the popularity of Old Town.
Many of the boards found ways to do their part in helping the city realize major accomplishments such as Economic Development Commission (EDC) funding Visit Indy. This relatively simple process has directly provided us many of the same benefits we would derive from having a Visitors Bureau within our own city. Redevelopment Commission (RDC) has assisted with partial funding for many projects throughout our city.
The Mayor and new administration have been working in particular with the City Council and Board of Works but also all the other commissions and boards within the city to restore the spirit and excitement.
DOWNTOWN FACADE PROJECT & MIDDLE SCHOOL ACQUISITION
The downtown façade project was yet another element towards revitalizing the downtown business district. The demolition of the former middle school property has the potential of helping us not only expand “quality of life” amenities within our city but provides us an opportunity to create business and residential growth. Only the north gymnasium has survived the wrecking ball and will be converted into a new downtown fieldhouse serving as an anchor for the redevelopment project. This is yet another gem quickly transitioned into yet another valuable asset for our Park’s Department.
SURINA WAY EXTENSION
In 2018, Surina Way was extended from Craig Park to Market Plaza. The parking lot adjacent to Surina Way at the library was totally redesigned. Permeable pavers are sustainable materials that help handle the movement of storm water through the ground surface reducing the amount of runoff. The pavers look nice and contrasting pavers are used to make the parking spaces which alleviates the need for costly lane striping.
OUR LADY OF GREENWOOD PARTNERSHIP
An additional 150 parking spaces are at the corner of Surina Way and Meridian Street. These spaces will replace a portion of the parking used by the Our Lady at the former middle school property. These spaces will be convenient for those visiting the memorial plus expanding our parking for major events such as the Freedom Festival and Our Lady’s Strawberry Festival.
A new trail was created from Meridian Street to Amphitheater where we all enjoy the Summer Concert Series and Movies in the Park.
NO SOLICIT ORDINANCE & FREE STICKER
Greenwood has taken a stronger stance regarding door to door soliciting within our city limits. You can now obtain a sticker to prominently display “No Solicitation Sign” on or nearby your door. These are available at City Center, Chamber of Commerce, Community Center, Library, Fire Headquarters, Justice Center or The Social of Greenwood. The Sticker states a maximum fine of $2500 per offense.
DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS NE CORNER OF MADISON AVE & COUNTY LINE
For several years the buildings at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and County Line Road have been in very poor condition. The parking lot was riddled with chuckholes and the owner had no desire to repair either the buildings or parking lot due to the proximity of the flood area. Residents in the area have been extremely unhappy with the appearance and lack of improvement taking place. In 2018, the city purchased the property and had the buildings demolished. It is thought this may be an greenspace area and has the potential for part of the space to be developed into a park. It pleasing to see the green grass even though there is nothing more there for the time being. The city hopes to get input from residents as to how they would like to see the property developed.
WESTERN REGIONAL INTERCEPTOR
This has been a major ongoing project. The Interceptor will alleviate our already burdened and sometimes failing sewer system. Our capacity was capped out long ago on the west side of our city. Our first phase had a healthy price tag of $24.7 million. The Interceptor will allow for future growth and development and it’s a great relief to our Pleasant Run Interceptor.
GREENWOOD STREET DEPARTMENT
We are always proud of the great work accomplished by our Street Department. Not only do they make life easier for those with disabilities by doing American with Disabilities Act (ADA) expansions at intersections, but small paving jobs save us the expense of using major contractors. Best of all is our snow removal. It’s amazing at they quickly turn snow covered slick streets into dry payment making our commutes much less stressful. It’s easy to see a major difference in the roadway such as US 31 or County Line Road that are maintained and cleared by other entities.
INDY SOUTH GREENWOOD AIRPORT
The financial health of our airport is improving and is now self-supporting. Our airport staff is talented and experienced. The staff is service oriented and frequently receives accolades from both pilots and passengers. The traffic at the airport continues to grow and additional corporate type hangers have been built. We continue to see great improvements with the overall goal to lead the way towards a more vibrant destination. Averaging over 88 take offs and landings per day…. ongoing goal is to lure more corporate jet traffic leading to increased fuel sales and potential for additional corporate hangers.
Several local pilots fly patients to destinations for medical treatment…..donating their time and fuel. The airport also host scouts participating in Young Eagles program. Each of the programs usually has 200 or more scouts participating in aviation related programs climaxed by a free flight. Airport Day has been expanded to include Young Eagle Flights. Again it’s our local pilots that fly these youngsters….again donating their time and fuel. Just PLANE Fun is a wonderful family night at the airport. Families arrive for a free movie as the main hanger is converted into a giant theater.
In early March of 2019, a contract was awarded for a new hanger and office space to be constructed for the Indiana State Police to hanger their Aviation fleet. The State Police have already moved their fleet to the airport terminal and we are all thrilled to have them as part of the airport family.
Averitt & Main Street has effectively help drivers making left turns without interrupting traffic flow at that intersection.
Yorktown & Smith Valley has significantly helped traffic on Yorktown either cross or make left hand turns at Smith Valley Road
Drivers are becoming better acquainted with the design. Traffic blocking intersections is a thing of the past. Traffic is not backed up over the bridge on the bypass. Solar “Yield” signage has been added. Most drivers have figured out how to negotiate transitioning from Smith Valley to US 31.
Overall the roundabouts have helped to create smoother traffic flow in each of these areas.
GREENWOOD FIRE DEPARTMENT
Effective January 1, 2019, our fire department has a Class 2 rating from the Insurance Services Offices (ISO). ISO is an independent agency that evaluates the Fire Department. Our former rating was Class 4. Our residential and business community should see a decrease in insurance premiums at renewal time.
Our fire department is the largest fire department in Indiana that is not a full-time paid department. Our volunteer firefighters are a blessing, but the downside is that we often lose them to another department that can offer them a FULL TIME PAID POSITION.
A new location for Station 93 has been selected on Cutsinger Road near Freedom Springs. Forty acres was purchased in 2018 with a portion of the land being used to relocate Station 93 and the remaining acreage will allow for more features at Freedom Park.
The staff at Station 91 also spent countless hours of time clearing out the brush along the creek bed behind 91. A destination play pocket has been erected featuring fire themed equipment.
The police, courts and clerk’s offices all relocated to the former middle school for nearly a year while the former police headquarters underwent a major renovation. We no longer have the portable units behind the police station and our probation employees are in a much safer environment.
STORM WATER MANAGEMENT
We have recently seen improvements to the area adjacent to Madison Avenue by the Greenwood Park Mall. The Storm Water employees have spent considerable time creating a nature park at the property on Washington Street. This nature park is open to the public and has frequent events helping our community to learn more about the importance of having a storm water department. Be sure to go to Greenwood.in.gov and check out the information our Storm Water Department is sharing about how each of us can have an impact on our environment.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS (DPW)
Our city recently started work on a new DPW building adjacent to the existing DPW facilities. This facility will allow us to house a majority of our equipment underroof which not only increases the life of the equipment but also eliminates the clutter of so many pieces of equipment being stored outside the facility. This project can easily be seen as you look north as you cross the bridge over the railroad tracks on the Smith Valley Road Bypass. It looks gigantic (50,000 sq ft….but the savings of not replacing equipment so quickly allows us to use those dollars on other equipment that will extend our in house services. All this is being paid for by our City with cash on hand and no debt will be incurred!
PARKS DEPARTMENT- COMMUNITY CENTER
Kid City is a multi-million dollar reimagination area at the Community Center. A Luckey Climber, three-dimensional climbing sculpture converted the former stairway into a fun climbing experience. The two-story space is a year-round indoor play zone for children, with STEM-focused activity incorporating educational themes, art, science and music. Kid City received over 122,000 visitors last year. Also worth mentioning is the new wrap on several of the park’s vehicles!
Freedom Springs encountered major concerns and push back by naysayers that thought we were building a facility much larger than needed by our community and was destined to lose money….however, it has exceeded expectations, operated in the black from day one and welcomed over 108,000 visitors last year. Our Parks staff continues to be proactive in order to keep the water park popular. Just last year they added a new drop slide helping them to enjoy their third consecutive year of record attendance. Just as impressive, membership increased more than 65 percent surpassing 2,200 in 2018. Can you believe Freedom Springs exceeded $1 million in annual revenue? Now that’s impressive!
As a result of our community participating in curbside recycling we have reduced the amount of trash being taken to the landfill. Which in essence……helps us to keep our sanitation fees lower. Our annual curbside recycling pickup up 1,983.19 tons in 2017 and 2,167.25 tons in 2018….an increase of 184.06 tons or 9%. REMEMBER LAST FULL WEEK OF MONTH HEAVY TRASH PICKUP
AMAZON RECEIVABLES CENTER
We were fortunate to have Amazon give Greenwood “nod” as the location for their new $80 million investment. This operations hub is 600,000 square-foot. Incoming items being sold on Amazon will be shipped to this site to be packaged and then distributed to more than 100 fulfillment centers. This is a huge project of 1,250 full time jobs. Once an employee has reached their one year anniversary the company will prepay 95 percent of that employee’s college tuition for in-demand classes and certifications. In 2016, Amazon committed to hiring 25,000 additional veterans and military spouses. That overall commitment had not been met as of September 2018.
Pitney Bowes opened a new 450,000 square-foot fulfillment center in 2018. They project hiring up to 300 employees.
Greenwood has a new logo on all of our city vehicles plus we have invested in adding “wayfinding signage to major sites throughout our city. The new template for signage is fresh and distinctive.
UPDATING GREENWOOD’S ZONING CODES
Our Community Development Services team is in the midst of overseeing an outside consultant to update all of our zoning codes. This should help us protect residential areas if commercial development takes place immediately adjacent to neighborhoods. This will also allow us to create areas where residential can exist above commercial [which is presently restricted].
Other major projects that have taken place during the current administration:
Downtown Splash Pad – located at the former site of the City pool
Stop light at Greenwood High School entrance on Smith Valley Road
Airport runway expansion to 5100 feet to allow for small jets
Employee Health Clinic – located in City Center for employees and family on city health program
First major Storm Water Project – redoing Pleasant Creek from Madison Avenue alongside downtown businesses just south of City Center, new bridge at Market Plaza and west. Take a look you’ll be amazed
ULTA cosmetic distribution center – 530 full time jobs (700-1200 seasonal jobs)
Poynter Sheet Metal – 95 jobs currently and in the process of expanding operations.
Emerson Avenue Improvements (2018)
Proudly Paid for By The Committee to Re-Elect Linda Gibson