What is Fishers?

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Fishers attracts residents for safety, redevelopment and school system

By Dawn Pearson

Another great thing recently happened to Fishers.

Earlier this month, Location Inc. named Fishers as one of the safest cities in America to live.

NeighborhoodScout.com publishes, for Location Inc., a list of the top 100 safest cities, calculated on cities with “25,000 or more population, and based on the total number of crimes per 1,000 residents. Crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, forcible rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault,” per their website.

Fishers ranked 36th Safest City in America to live. This year Fishers was one of only two cities, in Indiana, to achieve this status. For a complete list of the 2014 Top 100 Safest Cities in America please visit http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/top100safest/.

Fishers Police Chief George Kehl stated, “We are excited and honored to once again be named one of the safest cities in America. “This award is a direct reflection of the active partnership between the dedicated men and women of the Fishers Police Department and the residents they serve.”

Michael Colby, Fisher Town Council representative in District 2, the Northwest District, has lived and worked in Fishers since 1986 and attributes the town’s safety and appeal to its public safety, the employees and new initiatives in crime.

“Obviously the police department and the work they do, is mostly responsible for this honor,” Colby said. “We’ve initiated an intelligence unit with an investigations division. They work with surrounding jurisdictions on crime preventions and keeping each other informed and it is working.”

Cooperation is the key

“We have about 107 police officers, and when we include a citizen’s component, neighbor community watch program, the success is limited to the participation of the community,” Colby said. “We get tips from some citizens that observe odd people or unusual vehicles, so it’s a great co-op effort.”

According to Colby the Fishers Police Dept. is one of the few accredited police departments in the state. “They were accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in 2000 and have earned 4 accredited awards since then.”

Accolades are not new to Fishers. Doris Martinez posted on the Money Magazine CNN website, “Fishers is no stranger to the Best Places list, and it’s easy to see why. It has reasonably priced homes, one of the top school systems in the state, and seamless access to downtown Indianapolis (about a 30-minute drive). For fun, there are 451 acres of parks, summer music festivals, and the annual Flavor of Fishers Festival, where local restaurants showcase their best dishes. While the charm factor is a little lacking, Fishers is in the process of redeveloping its downtown area. Read more at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/best-places/2012/snapshots/PL1823278.html

And Pete Peterson, Town Councilman in District 1, the East District, agreed. Peterson moved his family here for the schools and did not want to raise his two small children in Southern California.

“I moved here years ago from California, because I thought it was better for the family,” Peterson said. “The schools here are a huge appeal for new residents; they look at the graduation rates, number of grads going to college, and test scores and the allure of moving to Fishers is huge. It’s a great place to live and a good place to put our kids in school.”

Colby agreed with Hamilton Southeastern Schools as a draw to Fishers along with new developments.

“The appeal of Fishers is we have both a great police and fire department and it’s important we have strong public safety in general for the community,” Colby said. “But we have a wonderful parks and sports organization, operate various youth leagues, and our fields are in great shape.

“We are drastically changing the division, creating a sense of place, not only to live and go to school, but work and play. By creating that sense of place, not only where they want to live, where we want to put our kids in school, but also work and play.”

Work and Play…

The Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau likes the development happening in Fishers.

“We supported and applaud Fishers on its vision for the amphitheater and how it could serve as a hub for residents, as well as an attraction for visitors,” Brenda Myers, executive director of the Bureau stated. “Add to this the redevelopment of the whole Nickel Plate District to provide both work space as well as “play” space will be transformative. The emphasis on the arts will only enhance the area as a cultural destination.

“The additional biking and walking trails, and the connectivity that the Nickel Plate District is going to make throughout the downtown core will make a huge difference in connecting the new city with visitors,” Myers said. “Having a vibrant downtown not only makes a city safer, it makes visitors feel comfortable exploring.”

Looking ahead…

“We are doing some economic development downtown and at The Depot through a public private partnership,” Colby said.  “Trying to get the tax base more aligned, so tax burden doesn’t hit the residents, and our future is bright.”

And the future is going from a town to a city.

“Beginning Jan. 2, Fishers will become a second-class city,” Colby said. “Population helps designate a second-class city and we are growing and developing and moving in the right direction. There will be elections, a primary in May and a general election in November and we will go from having a town manager to a mayor.”

Next Phase of the Nickel Plate District…

At last Monday’s town council meeting, the next phase of the Nickel Plate District redevelopment was approved.

“The 21st century will belong to distinctive cities that create a diverse sense of place,” said John Weingardt, town council president. “The Nickel Plate District is a catalyst for attracting innovative businesses that maintain a dynamic economy, resulting in long-term sustainability for the Town of Fishers.”

The town’s details of the project, developed by Loftus Robinson, include a 33,000 sq. ft., three-story office and retail building, a 400-space parking garage wrapped with luxury apartments and a train station pedestrian plaza. While the train platform, originally built in 1996, will remain intact, the project makes way for improved Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility and accommodates future mass transit plans.

“Fishers has long been attractive to our out-of-area guests, whether at youth sports events, overnights at its excellent hotel properties or Conner Prairie — the new downtown hub will only add to an already great tourism destination,” Myers said.

Stats reported to the FBI by the Town of Fishers: 2012 compared to 2013:

Murders: No murders either year

Rapes: 4 rapes in 2012; 2 rapes in 2013

Robberies: 9 in 2012; 7 in 2013

Assaults: Aggravated to assaults — 4 in 2012; 7 in 2013 (Mike Colby contributes this increase to the increase in population)

Burglaries: Burglaries down — 102 in 2012; 78 in 2013

Thefts: 692 in 2012; 722 in 2013

Motor vehicle thefts: 27 in 2012; 30 in 2013

Arsons: 2 in 2012; 1 in 2013

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