The Town of Center Grove: The Conversation Continues

Most of us Hoosiers will speak up when politics, religion, and food are on the table. Currently the freshest talk-fest in Johnson County involves whether or not Center Grove should become a town. While many don’t have a clear-cut opinion, several local residents recently shared their feelings.

Five years ago, Marianne Fischer moved with her family to the Center Grove area from Whiteland. While Marianne was surprised by Center Grove’s low property taxes, this was not the primary reason for the move. “I don’t pay too much attention to taxes unless they’re hefty.” In her opinion, a tax increase is a small price to pay for representation.

Former White River Township fire chief Howard Bennis notes, “If we don’t do something now to protect ourselves, there will be some future expansion by either Bargersville or Greenwood, especially when I-69 borders us.”

Offering a contrasting view, Ann Reaume believes “there is simply no advantage to Center Grove becoming a town. We have enough government without adding another layer.” She also cites town government may make changes people don’t want, like conversions from septic systems to sewers.

According to Ann, seventy per cent of those signing the opposition petition are retirees on a fixed income who are concerned about rising taxes.

Also questioning Center Grove’s advantage as a town, Marion Martin believes residents already feel a part of Greenwood and wouldn’t want to change addresses. She states the need for more details.

“The people who are not definitely against it would like more information. There are just so many questions unanswered.” (Editor’s note: The answers to many questions can be found on or the new site If you have questions, you can participate in the discussion on Facebook at

Greenwood resident Tia Nielsen, as an interested bystander, notes Center Grove has changed rapidly in the past 20 years and will continue to evolve, as there is no legal entity to “guard” the territory’s interests.

According to Nielsen, “In short, the door is unlocked and wide open. So, whether to become a town may not be the question. The question may be how much do Center Grove residents want to control the overall look, feel and costs of their future lifestyle?”

Residents need to understand determining a town versus a city is not based upon population. Rather it depends upon organizational structure. State requirements for a town include an elected town council with five people and a clerk/treasurer while a city requires a mayor and public works department. As an example of a large town is Fishers with 90,000 residents.

What Next?

Johnson County commissioners have acknowledged receipt of the petition, but found a number of issues with its content and sent it back to C4CG for revision. There is also a conflict between the County and Greenwood on who should approve or deny the petition first. Within 60 – 90 days after the issues are resolved, the county will hold a public meeting, most likely at Center Grove High School.

Until then, the conversation continues. cg

Joyce Long, Greenwood Middle School language arts teacher from 1992-2000, has called Center Grove home for the past 25 years. Currently Joyce works as the communications coordinator for Center for Global Impact and is passionate about engaging people to empower the poor.

Comments 3

  1. Dalton Musgrave says:

    Even Mr. Veldkamp, in his recent comments in the local newspaper, states we Center Grove residents have all the benefits of a town except the name. I am satisfied with what we have and am not willing to pay higher taxes just to gain a town name. As a retiree, I would like a little something in return for my investment. Just a town name is not enough!

    • Jody Veldkamp says:

      I never said that we have all the benefits of a town except the name and the paper did not quote me as saying so. That is a misrepresentation of my comments. We have some of the services of a town, but we do not control those services or our future. Where is the Center Grove planning board? Our economic development plan? What entity can handle all the infrastructure work that is required to bring advantages from the I-69 corridor and minimize the negative effects? For years we have pretended as if everything was fine while all the commercial property around us has been annexed by others. Our last hope to become a viable community, remain a great place to live, and have the self-determination that other populated areas have, is to become a town. – Jody Veldkamp

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