ANDERSON, Ind. — Mayor Kevin Smith highlighted Anderson’s economic growth during his State of the City speech Tuesday delivered to the Anderson Rotary Club.
Smith said that after several years of hard work, Anderson is now trending in the right direction.
“We are slowly removing the shackles of our automotive past,” Smith said.
Smith spoke at length about the new businesses that moved in to Anderson in 2013. He specifically mentioned Keihin and GTI Industries, both from Japan, that have recently established headquarters in Anderson.
Because of these two additions, Smith said Anderson is becoming nationally attractive to businesses.
“This shows that attracting Nestle wasn’t an anomaly,” Smith said. “It was a sign of future things to come.”
He also mentioned Nestle’s expansion as another sign that Anderson’s economy is becoming stronger than ever. Nestle recently announced it would add another assembly line to its plant here.
In the coming year, Smith said, Anderson will continue to take steps to make the city even more attractive including added efforts to improve parks and the downtown landscaping.
He mentioned the controversial House Joint Resolution 3 specifically in his speech and said he doesn’t think the Indiana Legislature should be bothering with a constitutional amendment when a state law already defines marriage in Indiana.
He said the state and Anderson must continue to be as attractive as possible for all businesses. He said a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage could deter businesses from choosing Indiana.
“My main focus is job creation in Anderson,” Smith said. “And Anderson welcomes diversity.”
In addition to economic development, Smith also had several other key goals for the city in 2014. He said a new CATS terminal and a more centrally located main fire station are two major items he would like to address in the coming year.
In addition to economic growth, Smith would also like to see Anderson grow in physical size as well. He mentioned last year he would like to see Anderson annex the land south of the city near Interstate 69. The city is currently engaged in a civil lawsuit with the town of Lapel over the land. The town of Ingalls has also expressed its intention to try and annex the land.
A court hearing on the Anderson v. Lapel lawsuit is scheduled Friday.
“We just want the court to hear our side,” Smith said. “The annexation Lapel took does not meet any of the designations for what a legal annexation looks like. So we think we have a really good point.”
Regardless of how the ruling comes out in the annexation, Smith said the City Council still has to decide whether it wants to move forward with the plan. When the idea was first brought up for discussion, the council did not approve it.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.