Vision quest: Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen focuses on future heading into term

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Although Mayor Chris Jensen said he and his team worked at warp speed his first term, he doesn’t plan to slow down in his second.

Jensen, a Republican, was reelected Nov. 7. He was unopposed in his race.

“We came in kind of focused on four key areas: downtown, infrastructure, workforce development and public safety,” Jensen said. “And the nice thing is, I think those four pillars will continue to be what we strive for in a second term. It’s just kind of peeling back the layers on that.”

Jensen said the largest project Noblesvile has ever undertaken is the Reimagine Pleasant Street project, which is designed to improve east-west connectivity. Phase 1 is complete and Phases 2 and 3 will begin construction next year.

“I think that can be transformational in a very positive way for our community,” Jensen said. “And again, I’m not sure we fully appreciate how big of a lift a project like that is to put a new corridor through an authentic community to really be aimed at relieving traffic in downtown to support small business.”

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Mayor Chris Jensen speaks at a groundbreaking for Innovation Mile. (Photo courtesy of the City of Noblesville)

Jensen also said he is excited about Innovation Mile, a business and technology hub that he thinks will start bearing fruit in the next couple of years. He said he wants to focus on continuing the Ind. 37 project north through Ind. 32 and Ind. 38 and work with the state as Ind. 32 becomes four lanes from Westfield to downtown Noblesville.

“I think we did a good job of executing projects that we’ve talked about for a long time but also listening to the public as we’ve gone through that process and ensuring that we had the support to get those big projects done,” Noblesville City Council President Aaron Smith said.

Smith said Jensen and the council have “a great dynamic” and have collaborated effectively on important projects.

As for downtown, Jensen said the city is entering Phase 2 of expanding residential opportunities. Several residential options, such as The Lofts on Tenth and Nexus Apartments, have already opened, and others are in progress.

Moreover, through the city’s facade grant program, Jensen said his administration has tried to incentivize business owners who want to “do some face-lifting” outside their building, which he said needs to be done, anyway.

With regard to affordable housing, Jensen said Noblesville has about 60 percent of the county’s federally subsidized housing.

“I feel very strongly that Noblesville is doing its part to continue to diversify its housing stock,” Jensen said. “This has to be a regional conversation. Other communities have to step up to that plate and be a part of that conversation. I think you’re seeing us develop future neighborhoods, for example, that are pretty diverse in terms of they have single-family, they have empty-nester ranch homes, they have townhomes, they have stacked flats — all within one neighborhood.”

Jensen said the city’s goal is to continue adding business and industry to help diversify the tax base. He said one of the biggest objectives “is to make sure there is a diverse subset of economic opportunities, so that if one sector is down, another sector will be up and we can weather those storms together.”

Jensen said the goal the past five years was — and is — maintaining a balanced budget that holds tax rates steady. The city’s police and fire departments represent 50.1 percent of the 2024 operating budget because Jensen said the most important part of his job is keeping Noblesville safe.

Within the police and fire departments, Jensen’s administration implemented NobleACT, a paramedicine program that he would like to see implemented in municipalities across the state.

“I think we are leading the way in Noblesville around community-based paramedicine and proactive paramedicine with NobleACT,” Jensen said. “We have three of the state’s probably 20-some mental health therapy dogs, so we’re certainly leading the way in that space.”

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Mayor Chris Jensen being sworn into office for his second term. (Photo courtesy of the City of Noblesville)

THE JENSEN FILE

Mayor Chris Jensen was elected to office in 2019, after serving on the city council and working in business development for a civil engineering firm.

Jensen previously served in former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ administration as a special assistant to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and director of intergovernmental affairs. He has called the Noblesville community home his entire life, according to his website.


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