Sold-out luncheon shows efforts to further Hamilton County improvements


By Conrad Otto and Jessica Todd

A capacity crowd of 500 people attended the 35th annual Hamilton County State of the County luncheon June 26 at Embassy Suites in Noblesville.

The event’s theme was “The Way We’re Going,” referencing the county’s future. Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger was the keynote speaker.

“Today, we have over 377,000 people in Hamilton County,” he said. “That is a 242 percent growth between 1990 and 2024.”

Dillinger said Hamilton County’s annual growth has been about 3.8 percent per year since 1990, and it is now the fourth-largest county in the state.

Besides population growth, Dillinger focused on road updates and future development plans.

Road construction

In a joint effort with the Indiana Department of Transportation, Hamilton County and the cities of Fishers and Noblesville, the goal is to complete construction on Ind. 37 for a smoother and safer flow of traffic on the interchanges starting from the intersection of 126th Street and Ind. 37 to 146th Street, according to Dillinger.

Dillinger said 146th Street improvements were needed because it was deemed the most dangerous road in the county by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office.

The $37.6 million construction project on the Ind. 37 and 141st Street interchange began last month and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2026. Dillinger said Ind. 37 will remain open through construction, but 141st Street will not be accessible from Ind. 37.

Dillinger also mentioned construction on the 146th Street and Allisonville Road interchange, which began last spring. The $44 million project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.

Dillinger said a $37.8 million construction project will begin on the 146th Street and Hazel Dell Road interchange in the summer of 2026 and is expected to be complete in the late fall of 2028. He said the state funded $8.7 million for the project.

Construction on the Pleasant Street Bridge over the White River in Noblesville is expected to be completed in November 2024.

Hamilton County 4H Fairgrounds improvements

Dillinger said the 4H Fairgrounds are ready to undergo renovations with a $65 million master plan. Phase 1, which will replace the Winks and Annex buildings that were demolished because of Pleasant Street improvements, is already underway with upgrades to the Exhibition Hall improvements to classrooms.

A new bicentennial building, renamed The Silos @37, will be built where the former Winks and Annex buildings were.

Domestic Violence Center

Dillinger discussed plans for a domestic violence center on Ind. 38. The county purchased 9 acres for $550,000 near Hague Road.

“We don’t have a place to put battered women and children in this county,” Dillinger said. “If we have that problem, we have to take them to Marion (County) or Madison County. That’s not what Hamilton County should be doing.”

County Commissioner Christine Altman is working with Prevail on a project design. Dillinger said there is no start date for construction. A total of $15 million was set aside to plan for the center.

Hamilton County Child care Center

Dillinger said the national average weekly spent on child care in 2023 was $321 per child, an increase of 13 percent from $284 in 2022.

“We’re running into problems because we have 24/7 (county employees), and there’s nowhere to keep the kids,” Dillinger said. “We’re attacking that problem right now.”

Dillinger said the benefits of a child care center would support the county’s workforce and make Hamilton County a more attractive place to work, especially for young professionals and families.

The county is considering a potential location at the Parks Department Coroner’s Office on Lakeview Drive. The county received a $750,000 state grant, and the project would be a partnership with the county, the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce and Riverview Health.

Final items

Dillinger mentioned several other projects, including a $65 million expansion of the Judicial Center, a new Wastewater Treatment Facility on U.S. 31 and 236th Street, which is 70 percent complete, and expansions and improvements to the Indianapolis International Airport and Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport in Fishers.