ANDERSON — In the first public appearance of the four men seeking to become Anderson’s next mayor, development of the city’s west side became the main topic of discussion.
The Anderson/Madison County Branch of the NAACP hosted the Wednesday forum at the Impact Center.
There was a predominance of supporters for the incumbent, Thomas Broderick Jr., in the crowd.
The mayoral candidates were asked if they would commit financial resources to development along Nichol Avenue.
Broderick said the city receives more than $1.2 million in federal grants with the money going directly into the near downtown on the west side of the city.
He said the Anderson Redevelopment Commission is working on providing funding for the corridor to eliminate blight and to bring a retail outlet to that side of the city.
Republican Rick Gardner said the city has to increase the property tax assessments on businesses to provide more funding for the improvement of neighborhoods.
He said development has to take place outside the tax increment financing districts.
Write-in candidate Thomas Dubrick said he wants to place an additional water tax on businesses to generate revenues.
Libertarian candidate Rob Jozwiak was cut off by moderator James Burgess for not answering the question.
The four candidates were asked about what improvements could be expected within the next year along the Nichol Avenue corridor.
Gardner said he agreed with Broderick that there is a drainage problem in the area that needs to be addressed, but didn’t understand why it was taking so long.
Gardner said his experience as a former manager of a Marsh store would allow him to help bring a grocery store to the city’s west side.
“The north and west side is prime for a supermarket,” he said. “When the Marsh store closed it eliminated the competition.”
Gardner said it would be wise to invest in a grocery store in the community.
Jozwiak said every election cycle there are promises of revitalization of the area.
“I understand the challenge of bringing a grocery store,” he said. “The problem is a lack of a supply chain.”
Jozwiak said tax increment financing revenue could be used to open a store.
Broderick said his administration is working to obtain the former Speedway station property at the intersection of Nichol and Raible avenues and to relocate the existing businesses.
“We are working to remove the former Clark station,’ he said. “We’re also looking for the funding to bring the infrastructure into the area and address the drainage problems.”
Broderick said the Redevelopment Commission has purchased the former Marsh store and a goal is to bring a grocery store to the property.
“We’re willing to build a store to bring in a grocery,” he said.
There were several candidates for positions on the city council at the forum, but the majority of the questions were directed at the mayoral candidates.
Attending the forum were: Democrat Rebecca Crumes, running for reelection to an at-large position; Democrat Joe Newman, running for another term from the 6th District; and incumbent Republican Jennifer Culp and Democratic challenger Tim Funk running in the 1st District.