Exploring Amazon possibility

The County Line

Amazon, the national retail giant, is looking for a new location for what they call a “second national headquarters.” In recent days there have been reports in the Indianapolis media that central Indiana could logically be considered for this $5 billion headquarters complex and the thousands of employees it would hire.

Mayors John Ditslear, Jim Brainard and Scott Fadness along with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett have all been quoted as saying they are hopeful Amazon might select the area for their huge new expansion plans.

There is also speculation that land purchases by an unidentified buyer, supposedly totaling 2,000 acres, are in progress in Wayne and Fall Creek Townships generally east of Noblesville and north of Interstate 69. Does this mean Amazon is coming to Hamilton County? Not necessarily.

But, if, and it’s a big if, there is a connection between the land purchases and the Amazon plans, it could be a “game changer” for the county. Jobs seem to be the big thing on the minds of local officials, the Chamber of Commerce and certain other community leaders. There would be benefits if such a gigantic operation located in the county with thousands of jobs.

Are there negatives to consider? Quite possibly. Local schools could be overwhelmed, roads would have to be built to accommodate thousands more cars, utilities and public safety services would be needed far in excess of what we currently have.

Add to this the fact that since we have very little unemployment here, most of the new hires would need to be brought into the area. And, another huge section of rural countryside would disappear not only because of an Amazon complex, but due to the sprawling commercial and residential areas that would be sure to develop around it.

There may be nothing to the speculation. Amazon may locate in some other state, who knows? But, if we do find their choice is Hamilton County, there are some things our leaders should explore before putting out the welcome mat.

Are we prepared for something of this magnitude? Would there be some kind of tax abatement that ends up costing our taxpayers? Would Amazon be expected to pay for infrastructure needs that come with their operation?

It’s a matter of looking before leaping, and not rushing into something just because of media hype and desire to make a political splash.