Current Publishing recently asked Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness several questions regarding the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City of Fishers. Below are his answers:
There are several developments going on in the city right now. Has the pandemic paused or delayed those developments or are they continuing as normal?
“As of right now, the vast majority of it is business as usual. (The First Internet Bank) headquarters continues to develop. The north side of 116th Street is closed this week and we will start construction. All the roadwork has continued and is track. I do believe the (Hotel Nickel Plate) will be on hold for a period of time until we get on the other side of this coronavirus issue, but that’s not a big deal because the city is not financially responsible for that. The developer said no one at Marriott is talking about building new hotels, so we hit the pause button on that, but most everything else is still on track.”
How does this affect the city budget, if at all?
“This particular event is unique in that it’s not exceptionally resource-heavy. It’s not like a tornado or earthquake or something that require lots and lots of money. Now, we are carefully tracking any expenditure for additional PPE, overtime hours, manpower hours. We are tracking all of that in hopes that since the governor declared this a state of emergency, there’s potential all that can be recouped from the federal government, so we are tracking all that. We are not resource-poor in this regard. We are well-resourced with dealing with this from a city perspective.”
Fishers is a champion in the mental health field. What is the city doing in that regard for residents who may be struggling?
“From a resource perspective, on our website we have a list of mental health professionals who we’ve built relationships with over the years in our overall Stigma Free initiative who are willing to provide hours of availability for people that need help. Also, there’s the *Fishers Cares program. Those are our two main resource points throughout this event. We have been encouraging people to build connections and reach out to individuals if they are feeling scared or afraid. Talk to a neighbor friend or loved ones and have open lines of communications. Go for a walk or go enjoy a park. Those are all things that can help alleviate some of the stress.”
Fishers was one of the first cities to initiate a travel ban. What are ways you are continuing to encourage residents to stay home?
“I was one of the first to come out with a travel advisory that said, ‘Please keep from any nonessential travel within the city’ because I felt like I understood and appreciated the gravity of the situation, and I applaud all the other cities that have come along, as well as the governor’s decision to make it a statewide travel advisory. My message to residents who aren’t adhering to those restrictions is the fact that more and more people are dying every day, and more and more people are getting sick, and this is no longer some abstract concept. Now, there’s somebody sick in your neighborhood, and I don’t know how to impress upon people who aren’t taking it serious, short of it coming to their doorstep.”
A look at Fishers Cares
City of Fishers Communications Director Ashley Elrod provided more information on the Fishers Cares program.
“That’s a group of clergies providing opportunities for people to reach out and talk if they’re struggling,” she said. “This was launched late last year by eight or 10 places of worship and community partners, and they underwent some mental health first aid training so they are trained to be able to handle stressful situations.
“Since the launch and since coronavirus, they have transitioned in-person meetings to virtual meetings, so now that is open to all residents to schedule (at fisherscares.com).”