MCCORDSVILLE, Ind. — In a small town neighboring Fishers, Lawrence and Indianapolis, growth seems to be inevitable.
Leaders in McCordsville say they have seen it for a while. It’s one of the fastest growing communities in Central Indiana, but right now the town has to figure out how to keep the people there.
“Basically they’re going outside of McCordsville for almost everything,” says town manager Tonya Galbraith.
She says their market analysis showed residents are looking for outside options when it comes to food and shopping.
It could be because McCordsville does not currently have a defined center. A new proposal could create one.
“We don’t want to be considered only a bedroom community,” says Galbraith. “We want to be our own community, and the way to do that is to develop community. That’s our vision and focus for the town center.”
Right now the town center plan is only a concept, one that will be presented to the town’s council for the first time Tuesday.
“There’s such a need that probably most things will be successful if they come here,” says Galbraith. “The need shows that there’s not the amenity here, it’s outside, and we’d like to keep it here.”
The town enlisted the help of Context Design, a Fortville company responsible for developments across the state including The Nickle Plate district in Fishers.
The proposed area in McCordsville is about 150 acres south of Highway 67 and east of Mt. Comfort Rd.
Most of the area is currently farmland. Without a current downtown district, the concept could prove to be challenging. Galbraith also sees it as a benefit.
“A lot of communities are doing downtown center plans. A lot of them are lucky to have a downtown to work with, and maybe an older redeveloped downtown. We don’t. That’s part of the problem, but the other part – the good part – is we do have a blank slate that we can form what we want.”
The mixed use development would include residential housing, retail, municipal buildings and green space.
“Because we’re growing so quickly,” says Galbraith, “We want to appeal to the needs of our residents. I think that would appeal to their need to go to restaurants here or go to a concert here.”
Town council members will have the opportunity to discuss the concept and bring their own input; however, Galbraith does not believe a vote will take place on Tuesday. One council member will be unable to attend the presentation.
“It’s important we have all of their input, all of their suggestions, before we move forward on it.”
She hopes the vote will take place some time in February.
While early estimates show the plan could cost more than 200 million dollars, more than 41 million in public funds, Galbraith says it’s hard to know for sure without an official plan in place.
“You have to have a plan in place before you have to figure out how to fund it. We know the plan will change along the way.”
Galbraith has been the town manager for 15 years. She says a town center has been a dream to her and many other all that time.
“I live here. I’d like to have a place to walk to or ride my bike to that I could get an ice cream cone or listen to an acoustic player.”
She hopes residents feel the same way.
“I think it would keep people here, it would bring people here.”
You can see the full conceptual plan here: