By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Whether it’s mowing more vacant city lots, or renovating Geater Center at no taxpayer expense, Anderson city officials have had to find innovative ways of doing more with less, Mayor Kevin Smith said Thursday night.
Because of declining tax revenue over the last several years there hasn’t been a choice, Smith told a small crowd gathered at the Geater Center for a town hall meeting.
“Our city is like many in Indiana and the Midwest. We’re dealing with changes in the economy,” and searching for ways to bring jobs to Anderson and Madison County.
Anderson Fast Forward had everything to do with jobs,” Smith said, referring to his proposed northeast and southwest annexation proposals that failed to win approval from the Anderson City Council last week.
Despite that economic development setback and a continuing decline in tax revenue, Anderson continues to benefit from business and job expansion.
Smith likes to note, for example, that Greenville Technology Inc., a manufacturer of parts for Honda, which opened at Flagship Enterprise Center, had decided to locate in another central Indiana community.
In just 10 days, Anderson’s economic development team was able to put together a proposal, which the company accepted.
“Anderson had a number of assets that were appealing to GTI,” said Smith, including access to highly qualified workforce, and interstate access and frontage, as well as a skilled workforce.
Hy-Pro filtration is another example of a company that chose Anderson, choosing to move its headquarters and manufacturing operations here from Fishers for many of the same reasons.
“We have a lot of work to do yet, but we will continue to bring jobs here,” Smith said. “Anderson and Madison County has proved that it has the ability to attract new manufacturing.”
Population and investment in the city follow new job growth, he added.
The mayor wants abandoned city properties mowed because it’s an economic development issue.
“We need to keep the city looking appropriate,” he said. That’s also a reason why city staff has developed a more cost-effective way demolishing abandoned and dangerous buildings.
Smith also talked about how the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir could eventually become an economic development boon to the city, but he noted that the proposal is still in the early stages of investigation and development.
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