Next Stop: McCordsville, Indiana

Town of McCordsville Town Council Vice President Thomas Strayer and Town Manager Tonya Galbraith have a bright future to talk about in McCordsville, Indiana.

The sun is shining brightly in McCordsville as positive plans are set for the future of this growing community. The pace is “full throttle ahead” for the town of more than 5,000 residents as new businesses are being established, and new projects are designed to pamper this quaint Hancock County community, just south of Geist Reservoir, and bordering Lawrence in Marion County and Fishers in Hamilton County. “Like many areas in central Indiana, we are beginning to feel the uptick in the economy,” said Tonya Galbraith, McCordsville town manager. “Our residential building permits are at a level we haven’t seen since 2007. We have several new sections of subdivisions opening and we have completed two growth-related studies to help us better plan for the future. Also, we are developing our first-ever Town Hall Park.”

The new park will be located west of Town Hall and include a mulch walking path (that Eagle Scouts have already implemented), an octagon-shaped shelter with picnic tables, benches, bike racks and a grill. All of these features represent Phase I, set for installation this fall. The park is being developed in conjunction with a Cost-Share Grant from the Upper White River Watershed Alliance. Some additional highlights include pervious pavers for natural storm water removal; native trees and shrubs planted throughout the park; vegetative stream bank cover in the form of wildflowers to help stabilize the stream bank on the eastside of Town Hall; and interpretative signage near the flowers, trees, shrubs and pavers to help inform the public.

“We’ve also started instituting some community events,” said Tonya, who serves as a conduit between the residents and town council. We had our first-ever Easter Egg Hunt this year, and we gave away approximately 300 seedlings to residents to help us commemorate our 25th anniversary of being a town.”

Another exciting feature for residents is the upcoming “Trails Project” which will connect the subdivisions on the eastside of CR 600W (also known as Olio Rd. in Hamilton County) providing pedestrians with bike/walking connectivity from south of the Emerald Springs subdivision in McCordsville up CR 600W where it will connect with the Olio Rd. trail.

Business-Friendly Culture Catching On

The business-friendly climate of McCordsville explains why many companies are sprouting in the area. In 2008, the McCordsville Redevelopment Commission embarked upon a branding and marketing campaign. The “Next Stop McCordsville” tag was created for the campaign, with a kick-off held at the Indiana State Museum. “The tagline refers to the fact that McCordsville was once a stop on the interurban line, and we hope to someday to be stop on another transit line. It also means that as development surrounds us, the logical ‘next stop’ for continued and strategic growth would be McCordsville,” Tonya explained.

A comprehensive development plan is on display inside the new town hall.

No longer will McCordsville stand like an island surrounded by exterior developments. Entrepreneurs will undoubtedly recognize the value of this prime territory and capitalize on it. Here is what business professionals are saying about their experience:

“We have always valued our relationship with the Town of McCordsville and found their long-term vision and real-time perspective in alignment with the interests of the hospital and its services. In 2008, Hancock Regional Hospital made a commitment to grow with the McCordsville community by building a 7,500 square foot building to house an outstanding group of internal medicine physicians – Northeast Medical Group – and to add an imaging center, laboratory, rehabilitation and immediate/urgent care services to the community. We continue to examine the use of our location in McCordsville and want it to align well with the needs of the local community.”

Rob Matt, vice president, business development, Hancock Regional Hospital

Beyond the 10 acres allotted for Northeast Medical Group, Hancock Regional also purchased 20 additional acres behind the building. This extra land may be used for a wellness center and/or additional office space for specialist doctors to complement the primary care physicians.

Ameri-Stor Self Storage and Office Suites came to McCordsville because of its location and the need to provide a Class A facility to meet the needs of this growing community and the surrounding area, both from a self-storage point of view and what we felt at the time was a need for new office suites in the McCordsville community. The Town of McCordsville staff is very professional and has been a pleasure to work with. Over the last five years, the owners and staff of Ameri-Stor Self Storage have worked very hard to maintain a Class A office and storage facility, which in-turn helps future business owners and developers know that Ameri-Stor Self Storage and the Town of McCordsville are committed to a bright future for the area.”

Rick Schmadeke
Managing Partner, Aspen Self Storage, LLC

“After having two locations in Indianapolis, one north and one east, I began looking for a more business-friendly environment, one that also provided the technical infrastructure my business required. With reliable and reasonably priced utilities, and with an emphasis on electric power and telecommunications, I found the right combination in McCordsville. The biggest factor influencing my decision was the availability of fiber optics. Very few cities and towns nationwide can match McCordsville’s all-fiber telecommunications services available to every home and business.

“Once the decision was made to move, I began a search for the perfect building. I renovated the circa-1870s house located at 6425 W. Broadway, whose first known owner was Jacob McCord. One fact omitted from the history is that during the time the house was owned by the local postmaster, my mother, as a small child, played in the house with his children. With a renovation complete, the property served as office space for my business until it was converted back into a single-family dwelling. I think the people of McCordsville are best described as ‘cherishing the past while embracing the future.’”

Robert L. Olson
Owner of Input-Output Unlimited, Inc.

“McCordsville has the perfect location for retailers. Eight years ago, we were attracted to the corner of 600W (Olio Rd.) and Broadway because of the local traffic patterns and strong growth in the area. Our retail building and the adjoining CVS enjoy exposure to more than 30,000 commuters every day – on their way to work or just running errands. The variety of businesses in our building are thriving, and are reporting increasing sales as rooftops are added in the neighboring subdivisions. McCordsville has a great outlook towards future development, and keeping a close eye on the needs of its residents. They understand the importance of maintaining the right balance between development, community spaces and activities to make it an attractive place to call home. This discipline and focus assures a bright future in McCordsville!”

Jeff Clark
Owner, McCordsville Commons, LLC

“Proportion-Air was founded in McCordsville in 1985 and has resided here ever since. We’ve enjoyed growing in this area and have attracted employees from all over; some drive from as far as Muncie, New Castle, and Westfield. We actually have three employees who drive from Ohio, and the owner, Dan Cook, works out of our R&D facility in Florida with three other employees. One thing I’ve noticed is that many employees try to relocate their families to this area, myself included. While it’s obviously nice to live close to work, that wouldn’t happen if they didn’t enjoy the area.”

Brent Archer
Vice President of Proportion-Air, Inc.

Now that the economy is coming back, we’re looking for that next step, which is the commercial piece, explained Tonya. “It’s got to be the right fit with our architectural standards and all. This piece we’re missing, such as grocery stores and restaurants and is where we will turn our focus.”

Intentional Growth is Community Driven

McCordsville continues to prosper with the help of the entire community. With the guidance of two steering committees it is no accident that the tactics for growth spell success. For instance, 4th year “Urban Planning” students from Ball State University spent six months completing a project titled, “Imagine McCordsville” whereby they surveyed residents to identify their needs and vision in the town center including everything from the type of pedestrian trails to the style of restaurants they would want to see in their town. These students set up a booth at the Lord’s Acre Fest and helped bring the focus of the future to life.

The thing that people like about McCordsville is that small-town feel, the friendly neighborhoods,” said Tom Strayer, current vice president, and former president of the McCordsville Town Council. He continued, “I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of several steering committees over the last ten years trying to make sure that whatever growth happens stays within this type of framework.” In talking with Tonya and Tom, I realize that every move appears to have been thought out completely. “During the downtime of the economy, the council used that time to work to become self-sufficient by breaking away from the Hancock County Planning and Building Commission so that when the economy did come back we would be a one-stop shop. We now have our own engineer, building planner and inspector,” Tonya explained.

Even the newly built Town Hall has proven to be a purposeful, long-term investment. The two-year-old construction project received a Community Achievement Award in 2011 from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. “This new structure serves as a fully functional Town Hall for now, but will eventually be the public works building as Town Hall will ultimately move to an integral part of the town center. We were able to pay cash and use today’s money for a future building,” said Tom, who works for Quantum Architecture, Inc.

Furthermore, the town council has planned 30 years ahead in designing a re-alignment of 600W to help with traffic flow and maintaining the unification of the town center. “One of the reasons I was attracted to this area was the fact that I could walk or ride my bike to work every day,” said Tonya, who was born and raised in Anderson. She graduated from Ball State and has served in as town manager of McCordsville for the past nine years. “My goals are to work with our town council and the residents of the town to continue moving in a positive direction. I would like to add more community-based events to enhance the quality of life.”

It would appear that McCordsville’s future is as bright as the morning sun the day of my visit.

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