economic development

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Right now, Lafayette’s Five Points neighborhood looks like a twisted jumble of streets surrounded by businesses and homes in need of more than a little TLC.

But in a few years, city leaders think it’ll be a hub of rebirth, with developers sinking millions of dollars into replacing the old with the new.

What hasn’t been floated publicly in those talks is the G-word: gentrification. The neighborhoods surrounding Five Points have plenty of history, but also play host to many low- and middle-income Lafayette families. If investment comes in and raises the value of the property, would that drive some of those residents out of the market?

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The city of Crawfordsville recently celebrated the return of the Montgomery County Courthouse Clock Tower after 70 years – you can see it well down US-231, but local leaders say it’s more than just a physical marker.

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we’re talking visibility.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton recently went to Atlanta, Georgia to try to talk up his city with out-of-state investors. The trip came on the heels of last year’s visit to Japan with Governor Holcomb. But what happens to a dream deferred – in this case Crawfordsville’s economic development hopes? Does it dry up in the summer Indiana sun?

We pose that question to Mayor Barton today on this week's Ask The Mayor.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

In this week’s elections in Tippecanoe County, Democrats fielded a candidate in just two of the seven countywide races. It’s the continuation of a trend of apathy from the party in recent years.

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we talk with the highest-ranking Democrat in the county – Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski – about what that dearth of participation means for his party – especially in a year where Democrats were supposed to be energized.

City of Frankfort

As development along Interstate 65 becomes a topic in Clinton County elections this year, Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes finds himself between a highway and a hard place.

On the one hand, he had to forego his plan to annex land from the city limits out to I-65. On the other, he watched county officials begin to develop land near the State Road 28 interchange and now hears county commissioner candidates ask his city to extend its utilities westward to serve those new investments.

City of Frankfort

The City of Frankfort recently received half-a-million dollars in donations for a park that Mayor Chris McBarnes hopes will revitalize downtown and bring new, long-term investment to the area.

But some detractors at a recent meeting say it’s as though the mayor is trying to buy a new car at a steep price when he could have fixed up the existing vehicle – the city’s other parks that some see as run-down – for far less money.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

In the 21st Century, it’s a bit of an open question how small-to-midsized Indiana cities will attract industry or grow their population base.

Gone are the days of a railroad or a new university creating a boomtown, so what’s a place like Crawfordsville to do?

The answer is probably not going to be “build a windfarm,” so perhaps instead of trying to grow the permanent populace, the city can try to attract visitors on more weekends.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

There aren’t that many movies staged and shot in Crawfordsville. And probably only a small subset of those involve replica firearms. So when a Crawfordsville police officer encountered what looked like a robbery earlier this week and fired a bullet at an actor carrying an air gun, people began to formulate questions.

city of West Lafayette

West Lafayette’s mayor wants to give people more places to have an adult beverage – as long as those new establishments follow some stricter rules than most West Lafayette bars currently do.

It’s allowed under a law in which mayors whose cities have so-called “riverfront districts” – as Lafayette and West Lafayette do – can authorize liquor licenses.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jstephenconn/3051019997
J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has returned from the state’s economic development trip to Japan, where he visited with executives of two long-time Montgomery County employers.

Barton says city officials have begun trying to get other prospective Japanese investors with whom the mayor had contact to travel to Indiana.

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