ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (Feb. 1, 2016)-- Big city drama found its way to Zionsville on Monday night, as issues connected to the Boone County suburb’s explosive growth made for a three hour town council meeting.
Residents are concerned over an intersection they say is too dangerous, along with plans for a new $10.2 million and 41,000 square-foot proposed town hall.
More than a dozen residents spoke in a meeting that got heated at times. Many were angry because they said they don’t feel like Zionsville needs a new town hall. Others commented that the plans are just outlandish and don’t fit the town’s image.
“The building looks something like Carmel would build,” said Lori House, a Zionsville resident.
Zionsville Mayor Tim Haak said the current town hall requires at least $3 million in repairs to fix heating and other systems and make it disability compliant, among other issues.
Other residents voiced concerns over a dangerous intersection, Oak and Kissel, and worried that it won’t be fixed if the council moves forward with any construction on a new town hall.
“How are we talking about a town hall when we’ve left this road in the dust for so many years,” said Nicole Adams, “I just don’t understand how we can be here doing that when we are having issues with something small as funding for a road.”
We talked to Adams earlier in January after she was seriously injured in a crash at the intersection.
Haak said a traffic study commissioned in late January is currently underway to determine the best way to make the intersection safer in the short term. Long term plans call for a $1.6 million dollar roundabout, but that isn’t currently budgeted.
Haak said the results of the study should be back for that intersection in mid-March, and the town will be able to make improvements, with a traffic signal being a possibility.
He said the two issues are not connected and does not want the public to feel that they are.
“We have to do a good job of planning. People have tried to tie the town hall project with a road safety issue. They are independent. We are going to tackle those issues separately. We’ve done a good job budgeting for both,” he said.
Ultimately the council just introduced the town hall proposal Monday night and did not take action, with the council president acknowledging there are issues and concerns that need to be worked out. Haak agreed and said there will be two community meetings, to discuss the town hall project, Feb.17 and Feb. 23 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the town’s community room.
“We need to do a better job of communicating. I think that’s the case that happens with a lot of projects. People, they don’t come out and say what they don’t like until something happens, and that’s what happened this time,” he said.