Boone County — Attraction, retention and expansion of major industrial and commercial businesses, and the encouragement of “mom and pops,” are this year’s targets of the Boone County Economic Development Corp., Dax Norton, the agency’s executive director, said recently.
Norton met earlier this month with local government, development, construction and retail representatives to discuss how the county can continue an economic expansion despite a national recession.
More businesses mean more jobs, a broader property tax base for the county, and more sales for local businesses.
Norton said Thursday there’s already been some positive activity from the Jan. 20 meeting at the Anson Information Center.
“Some infrastructure discussion has begun, as it pertains to utilities,” Norton said. “I think that will be the first discussion we have with all municipalities.”
“Infrastructure” means roads, curbs, gutters, water, sanitary sewer, and electrical and natural gas lines. The infrastructure must be in place before development can begin.
At the end of the meeting, Norton had said he would have the EDC’s government affairs committee initiate talks with municipalities about infrastructure plans.
“There are some development areas in Zionsville that certainly could use (infrastructure upgrades),” Norton said.
Bob Harris, of the Harris Property Group, said he’d like Zionsville to extend water lines along Zionsville Road to 106th Street, and sanitary sewer lines north to the intersection of 146th Street and Michigan Road.
“On Zionsville Road, we lost a tenant of about 22 or 25 years,” Harris said, referring to the closing of Love Furniture. He said two restaurants and a bakery that expressed interest in the site balked because there’s no municipal water service.
It would also help if Zionsville would extend water beyond 106th Street, Harris said.
“The mom and pops are interested now ... not 10 months down the road when a building is constructed,” he said.