The County Line
Big things are coming in Hamilton County in the new year of 2018. Besides what has become “normal” such as continued home building and business expansion, there are going to be new sights and sounds as the county continues its record growth and development.
Most obvious to the casual observer will be the beginning of the huge $125 million rebuilding of State Road 37, essentially making it into a non-stop freeway from Noblesville to Interstate 69. When completed the highway will greatly reduce drive time for daily commuters. No more stop-and-go lights. This will move traffic much more easily.
Within Noblesville, the beginnings of a Pleasant Street bypass and new bridge over White River may materialize this year. More walking trails including the controversial conversion of the Nickel Plate Railroad from the city to the south county line will begin to take shape. The sound of an excursion train back on the tracks north to Atlanta is set for this summer.
Major county government projects in Noblesville will get underway. They include a jail expansion with solar energy and a huge addition to the Government and Judicial Center.
For those who visit or live in Carmel there will be almost non-stop development along the Monon Greenway from Main Street to the Civic Square a half-mile south in a corridor between Range Line Road and 3rd Avenue. And, of course, more roundabouts everywhere.
Elsewhere in the county, we will find more new construction in the Fishers area including another new elementary school. Westfield will see more development around Grand Park along with the arrival of the Colts who will hold training camp at Grand Park this year.
Political change is coming to the county’s legislative delegation, the local judiciary and perhaps on the County Council.
A new state senator, Victoria Spartz, will represent parts of the county this year, and a new state representative will be elected to take office in 2019 replacing Rep. Kathy Richardson.
In the courts, Judge David Najjar is beginning his first full year in Superior Court 5 and a new judge will be elected to take over next year from retiring Judge Steve Nation in Superior 1.
Candidates claiming to be more progressive on local issues will make an effort to take control of the County Council where four of the seven members are up for election this year. Incumbent Fred Glynn faces a challenge from Sue Maki and incumbent Paul Ayers is not running again. Ken Alexander and Rick Sharp will compete to take his place.
Issues including public transportation to Indianapolis and new parking facilities in downtown Noblesville may be on the ‘back burner’ for this year. Neither is dead, but no immediate plans have been revealed. But, major progress and change are afoot this year in the state’s fastest-growing county. Funding for the new building and public improvements comes from two sources. Private business investment which is obvious and, in the public sector, the not-so-obvious effect of the County Option Income Tax, known as COIT.
Since Hamilton County has by far the highest per capita income in Indiana, the collections on one percent of that income amount to huge sums of money each year for county, city and township governmental units.
COIT collections now exceed property tax revenue countywide and enables local officials to pay for all kinds of public improvements. Therefore, with private investment following (and encouraging) our mushrooming population and big tax revenue (bigger for some units than others) we find the reasons for a year of record growth and development.