Ask The Mayor: Crawfordsville's Todd Barton
Some questions asked of the mayor this week:
You recently got back an assessment from a company in South Carolina assessing how ready the county is for economic development. Tell me your initial impressions of what the report says.
I talked a little about how Frankfort markets itself last week with Chris McBarnes on this program. Frankfort, Kokomo, Greencastle – you’re all potentially competing for the same kind of investment. How do you differentiate yourself from other Indiana cities that may appear very similar to companies from outside the state that know very little about this area?
Chris McBarnes told me the IEDC, he believes, is pushing companies that approach it to think about Frankfort before some other cities the same size. How do you make those sorts of connections?
One of the items the site readiness report mentions is the accessibility of rail transportation – both of goods and of people. Is that something you hope to leverage with the General Assembly as you try to get them to help pay for continued Amtrak service?
It seems like this is a time in Indiana, with people on both the state and local level pushing for more vocational education, where the state – and by extension, its cities – have to decide on an identity. Crawfordsville, of course, has a liberal arts college as one of its anchors, but you’ve got folks in your economic development office trying to figure out ways to get kids happy about the idea of factory work. But Wabash isn’t putting out factory workers, by in large. So what’s your sense of what Crawfordsville’s identity should be?
Would you personally like to see more kids from your city trying to go to a four-year college or is it more realistic to think yours is a community which might better serve the state’s manufacturing or agricultural economies?
Governor Daniels pushed more people to two-year schools. Governor Pence has pushed more on vocational education. Does the state need to pick a route and stick with it, especially for a city like yours which might go either way?