Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron believes there is a lot to look forward to in Zionsville.
During a Nov. 16 Zionsville Chamber of Commerce business breakfast at Zionsville Town Hall, Styron delivered a preview of her annual State of the Town address, which is scheduled for early 2022. She noted two development initiatives — one at Creekside Corporate Park and the creation of the Zionsville Gateway Area — as points of emphasis.
Creekside Corporate Park
Styron said when she was elected mayor, she knew Creekside Corporate Park would need to be a focus.
“Taxpayers in Zionsville have been paying for our excellent school system on the backs of a residential tax base that is insufficient, and for us to continue to grow and provide amenities and have that excellent school system, we have to grow our corporate tax base, which is why my primary focus since Day 1 has been to understand what were some of the limitations during the biggest economic boom our community, our state, our country, really, has seen,” she said. “Why didn’t we didn’t we develop more interest in Creekside?”
Within her first month as mayor, Styron said the answer became clear.
“We were overpriced. The model we were using in that area was broken,” Styron said. “We were trying to get folks to pay for the investment that the town had made in Creekside, which was a very large cash investment because of the environmental remediation that needed to get done and, frankly, because of the great infrastructure that’s in place at Creekside.”
This year, Creekside secured its first new development when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing officials announced plans to move its headquarters to the business park. The new 100,000-square-foot facility will occupy 13.32 acres and allow RLL to consolidate its existing operations in Brownsburg and Ohio. Styron said the headquarters will bring as many as 90 new jobs to Zionsville. The company expects to be fully operational by spring 2022.
Styron said the deal was successful because of the town’s new approach to attracting companies to Creekside.
“The investment for us as a town is planting businesses into that corporate park, not because they are going to pay you on Day 1 for the land, but because that land, once developed, will pay us into perpetuity. That’s what we want, for the tax base to grow,” Styron said.
The town is in talks with other companies to attract them to Creekside, Styron said.
“Having a number of businesses that are going to fill Creekside will help our tax base,” Zionsville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Allyson Gutwein said. “It will also get more people to interact with our charming downtown and our small businesses. Oftentimes, our small businesses and those larger corporations go hand in hand because one makes the town where people want to come and relocate because we are small and unique and different. The other helps build up that tax base so that we can have some of those amenities that other places don’t.”
Zionsville Gateway Area
Styron discussed the plan for the Zionsville Gateway Area, a reimagined entryway into town at the south end of Main Street, near the intersection with Sycamore Street. The area will have pathways, multi-modal connectivity, green space, public amenities, businesses and housing.
During her campaign, Styron said the town needed to reinvent what she called a “blighted” entryway. Her goal began taking shape last year when the town demolished Zionsville Locksmith & Safe, a vacant building at 390 S. Main St. Another vacant building on the same lot, formerly owned by PNC Bank, also was demolished.
“The Zionsville gateway project includes a rerouting of the road system to make it flow more seamlessly and also open up more land that is further away from the residential area for commercial investment,” Styron said. “It creates a little bit bigger swath of land. Now, you all know government can’t all of the sudden start a development project. That’s not what we do. In that area, we set the table for it, if you will. And that’s what the Zionsville gateway project is, an attempt to tell developers we’ve gone through a lot of iterations, and we are ready, and our community is ready, for development that looks like this in these particular places.”
Part of the town’s plans for the gateway include the extension of the Main Street area into a plaza space “that will be really beneficial for the chamber and all kinds of organizations that want to do events,” Styron said.
For more, visit zionsvillegatewayarea.com.