By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
LAPEL, Ind. —
If nothing else, Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith’s now-failed effort to annex a large swath of Stony Creek and Green townships has people here thinking about the town’s future.
The Anderson City Council killed Anderson Fast Forward last month, but a proposed super-voluntary annexation designed to keep Anderson at bay is moving ahead.
Thursday night, the Lapel Town Council held a public hearing on the proposal, a 200-foot-wide strip of land beginning at the southeast tip of Lapel that runs south and east down to Pendleton’s town boundary.
About 45 people attended the hearing, and there wasn’t an opponent in sight.
Lapel area resident Mark Wolfe said he thinks the 10 property owners who jointly requested the annexation “should be congratulated.”
Wolfe said he’s reviewed the town comprehensive plan adopted in 2009. What struck him most about that planning document, was how often the word “growth” appeared.
“We’re now in the fifth year of that plan and there hasn’t been a whole lot done,” he said.
Wolfe believes the town needs to be more proactive about managing its growth.
“So far, Lapel has dodged two bullets, the proposed annexation and the airport,” he said, referring to the now-defunct idea of building an airport on 4,000 acres in southwest Madison County to replace Metro Airport in Fishers.
“Lapel needs to start doing things to protect its future, and needs to be more aggressive to keep this from happening again.”
Town Councilman Clay Parkison couldn’t agree more.
Like many area residents, he doesn’t believe Anderson is done with efforts to somehow annex property south of the city’s existing boundaries and gain additional Interstate 69 frontage and the rich economic development potential that promises.
And, like many in the audience, he’s not convinced efforts to build a new airport near Lapel are over.
Parkison said the impact of the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir on Anderson Municipal Airport only heightens the prospect of a new airport elsewhere in Madison County.
“If the reservoir is built, that’s just going to be one more reason for them to come this way,” he said. “This fight ain’t over and everyone needs to stay involved.”
The Town Council scheduled a vote on the annexation ordinance for May 2.
Smith said the goal of Anderson Fast Forward was to stabilize Anderson’s population and property tax base, and create an economic development corridor down to the Madison/Hamilton County line.
He argued that Anderson had a proven track record of being able to bring meaningful manufacturing jobs that not only benefit the city, but all of Madison County.
Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.