Staying Community Focused
Get to Know New Noblesville Main Street Executive Director Lorna Steele
Writer: Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer: Brian Brosmer
Lorna Steele believes that the way to engage the community is through events, people and programs. So she’s thrilled to be named the new director of Noblesville Main Street. A two-year resident of the town, Steele, 27, graduated from Indiana University in 2013 with a degree in tourism, hospitality and event management. Since graduation, she’s been utilizing her skills in both the Fishers and Noblesville Parks & Recreation Departments.
“I love people and am passionate about affecting their lives in a positive way,” Steele says. Over the past five years, through these jobs as well as volunteer work with Young Life (an organization whose mission it is to introduce adolescents to Christ and help them grow in their faith), Steele has bonded with the people here, making this job the perfect fit to align with her values and passions.
“There’s a tight-knit sense of community in Noblesville that’s rather unique,” Steele says. “I see how important community is to our officials and the organizations who are involved in the city. Events foster that sense of community and enhance our overall quality of life.”
Steele says that although work is important, so is recreation, and that getting outside, talking to people and building relationships are all crucial to maintaining a healthy community.
“I’m excited to get to know more faces in the downtown area — to make new partnerships and foster old ones,” says Steele, who suspects that this close-knit kinship has evolved from folks participating in so many of the beloved programs that are hosted by Noblesville Main Street.
Noblesville still has that small-town feel, which is something the downtown store owners cater to. Though Steele recognizes the huge boom for economic and commercial development, she thinks the greater draw is the ability to go downtown and run into friends at the coffee shop.
Steele encourages residents to approach her with any ideas for ways to improve or expand Noblesville Main Street. She even plans to occasionally visit the local high school cafeteria to pick the brains of the student body.
“I’d love to work with the high school’s innovations class and get them involved with bigger picture ideas,” says Steele, noting that while she works for the city government, she’s eager to serve small-town business owners, single moms, big families and energetic teenagers.
She’s also eager to share what she calls one of Noblesville’s “best-kept secrets”—the fact that Noblesville is an accredited cultural arts district.
“We have so many amazing artists in town,” Steele says. “We even have a cultural arts director who organizes all things art.”
Kiln Creations holds pottery classes for both adults and kids. Nickel Plate Arts is in the process of closing an alley so that they can provide some interactive art activation on the walls. There’s also a big downtown amphitheater that offers a distinctive twist — musical instruments are built into the back of the stage, allowing kids to explore music by playing the instruments. In addition, the city is planning a Wine Down & Art, as well as other art fairs and shows.
Steele and longtime boyfriend Abe recently bought a house in West Harbour where they live with their Yorkie Poo named Violet. Steele loves to travel, hike, read and hang out with her five sisters. She also enjoys seeking out “hole-in-the-wall” bars and restaurants, which invariably are hidden treasures of the culinary world. It all comes back to the people, the places, the camaraderie and the culture.
“At the end of the day, we all crave that sense of community. It’s in our nature,” Steele says. “Bigger than that, we want to feel connected to the place we live. Noblesville is the perfect size for that because it’s big enough that we have great things going on but also small enough that you can show up to the Farmer’s Market and run into 10 people you know.”