American Structurepoint unveils Strategic Plan Draft
It was a long time coming, but Zionsville’s “plan” is finally on the table.
American Structurepoint principal planner Chris Hamm on June 26 outlined the town’s Economic Development Strategic Plan Draft before a sizeable crowd in the Town Hall Community Room. Hamm said that, while the plan is the product of much input and numerous meetings over the past year-plus, in no way is it final.
“It’s been a detailed process,” Hamm said. “We wanted to provide a living document. Anyone who’s been around planning understands that these things don’t operate in a vacuum. This (plan) will provide a strong foundation moving forward, but has the flexibility to accommodate changes.”
Some of the changes, ostensibly, will come from the public’s feedback. American Structurepoint will field questions and concerns until July 19, and Hamm also took inquiries from the crowd during the June 26 gathering. After July 19, Hamm said the Working Group, which has partnered with American Structurepoint to develop the plan, will convene to consolidate all the gathered elements.
“These things only work when people engage,” said Hamm.
The plan itself deals exclusively with a 1,000-acre area in the southeastern quadrant of Zionsville. Bordered by Ind. 334, Michigan Road, 96th Street and Zionsville Road, the study area suggests future land use and encompasses existing residential and commercial areas, as well as both developable and undevelopable land.
Hamm was quick – and adamant in so doing – to point out that the plan is not a zoning document.
“There’s been some confusion about that,” he said. “Nothing in (the plan) provides a change in zoning for any property.”
Hamm continued, “This plan can only do so much, because development requires good market conditions, willing sellers and willing buyers; nothing happens without those elements. If you’re not interested in there being an office on your property, then it’ll never be that way, but people need to have an expectation as to what may or may not happen around them.”
The purpose of the plan:
- Long-term strategic guide to manage and facilitate stable and desired economic development within the study area
- Assist policy, land use and infrastructure decisions
- Gather input from a variety of sources to build consensus around the plan
To provide a living document that will be updated as change occurs among land use, property owners, funding resources and priorities within the community
The plan peers into a future – perhaps decades out – iteration of Zionsville that includes a gateway district at the corner of Ind. 334 and Michigan Road, a Village extension south of 334 along Zionsville Road, light industrial, office, medical and nature areas.
Town Manager Ed Mitro said infrastructure is the first step in the process.
“Currently, the Redevelopment Commission has a study put together on sewers on 106thStreet and Zionsville Road,” he said. “That will be ongoing for about six months, maybe with construction next year. Some areas are shovel-ready now, some will be next year.”
Aside from turning over dirt, development hinges on interest from businesses. Boone County Economic Development Corporation Director of Marketing and Communications Bryan Brackemyre said the Dow-owned property, a major chunk of the middle of the study area, has had interest from potential suitors.
“We’ve had a handful of leads about the Dow property in the past three years,” he said. “Right now, we’ve got maybe one.”
During the meeting, Hamm touched on a topic close to the hearts of many in the room: the Village.
“The Village is crucial to Zionsville – it’s what defines you,” he said. “Any Village extension is not meant to supplant the existing Village, it’s meant to increase foot traffic on Main Street. These won’t be big-box retailers, they will be built out to the street to create the same feel and character.”