Zionsville Then and Now!
Zionsville- Building On The Past!
Zionsville’s economy historically was centered around its existence as a stop on passenger rail lines served by the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railway. From its humble beginnings, the Town has grown and prospered from primarily serving as a bedroom community supporting itself as well as the Indianapolis metropolitan area to a thriving diverse community all while still maintaining a character and charm that is unique to Zionsville.
Zionsville, being home to a variety of employers, is known for its downtown area which provides a unique shopping and dining experience for both residents and visitors to the community. The downtown area, while being the heart of the community, is within the Town’s first Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district. This relationship creates the opportunity for the Town, via its Redevelopment Commission (RDC), to reinvest a percentage of the community’s tax dollars right back into the hub of the Town’s cultural tourism efforts.
This same TIF district contains the bulk of the Town’s larger employers and affords the Town the opportunity to re-invest into these employers and encourage retention in the form of low-interest loans for capital expenses, financial grants to improve an exterior of a building, financial assistance with job training, and economic development incentives in the form of grants to encourage relocation or expansion of new or existing businesses.
As another example, a combination of TIF dollars and federal highway dollars were utilized to modernize a segment of West 106th Street as a method to encourage additional private investment within the southeast quadrant of the Town and represents the most significant one-time economic development activity undertaken by the Town at that time.
Outside of this TIF district, the Town modifies its approach to economic development and re-investment efforts. As an example, the Town historically makes financial contributions every year to both the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce and the Boone County Economic Development Commission to assist with each organization’s mission. And in 2012, the Town amended its Sewer Connection Fee Ordinance to reduce the connection charge for new commercial and industrial development locating within the Town’s limits. While both of these activities are not targeted to any specific beneficiary or area like activities within the TIF, these actions further the Town’s overall re-investment in the community.
Zionsville – Investing In The Future!
The Town has always provided a competitive environment to do business. The private development of employment hubs such as Andrade Industrial Park, Bennett Technology Park, Mayflower Business Park, Ripberger Business Park, and Ripberger Industrial Park have provided for the location of new and expansion of existing employers. Many of the current employers as well as an assortment of potential new tenants continue to remain eligible to utilize the incentives made available in the TIF district. Along those lines, in 2012 the Town awarded nearly $200,000 in development incentives in the TIF district related to business retention and expansion projects.
By comparison, by the beginning of the second quarter of 2013, the Town had awarded nearly $500,000 in development incentives. The Town continues to maintain a high level of investment in its existing businesses, as well as its recruiting and retention efforts, by offering a variety of grants and loans all while maintaining an intense effort to enhance the Town’s infrastructure while taking an active role in reducing the cost the doing business in Zionsville.
These projects find their roots in the Town’s economic development planning efforts. In 2010 (just after consolidation), the Town engaged a consultant and assembled a committee to strategically plan economic development efforts. While initially the committee desired to include the entire community in the plan, it was determined that the most cost effective way to conduct the exercise was to focus on the southeast quadrant of the Town. After 18 months of conversations and a number of public meetings, the Town adopted its Economic Development Strategic Plan.
This Plan, among other things, calls out a series of critical steps which are designed to enhance the Town’s economic development climate. Since the Plan’s September 2012 adoption, the Town has reviewed and approved several projects within the Plan’s jurisdiction, with the first being a 45 acre Federal Express distribution facility that is projected to result in a nearly $30,000,000 investment.
Several additional new businesses have located in the area since the completion of the study, including (but is certainly not limited to) Bites, Bubs Burgers, Landscape’s Unlimited, Siro’s, The Scoop, and coming in 2015: Marten Trucking (establishment of its Zionsville based fleet services facility).
More recently, the Town purchased 82 acres of land within the TIF district for the creation of a project titled Creekside Corporate Park at Zionsville. The development (a featured project at the September 2013 meeting of the Indiana District Council of the Urban Land Institute) primary focus is to provide for the development of a high class office, research and light industrial park on the property. The first tenant within the 15 lot development is LIDS / Hat World (who has commenced with construction on its 152,000 square foot corporate headquarters-projected to be completed by December of 2015).
As another example of the Town’s commitment to its understanding of and enhancement to its TIF District, the Town commissioned a $79,000 study of the market forces and parking usage within the Village / Downtown area of Zionsville (materials related to the study, and results, can be viewed at www.zionsvilledowntownstudy.com). As Zionsville continues to climb out of the Recession that gripped the Country at the end of the last decade, the Town is well positioned to market itself as a community that is ready to do business.
All why we continue to say, ZIONSVILLE – FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS