Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eminent Domain and Fishers Downtown

As most people in Fishers know, town government is busily trying to redevelop downtown Fishers.  As part of this concept, they want to build a new street extending west from Lantern Road to Municipal Drive.  This would extend the east-west road that runs past Target and Fifth Third all the way west to the municipal complex.

Problem is, there are existing homes and businesses in the way.  The town has made deals with 3 property owners to pay them over $1 million total for their land.  But, they have not been able to reach a deal with one property owner who owns a home and business adjacent to the railroad track.  So what do they do?  Last night at the town council meeting, they authorized eminent domain legal action if necessary.

Now, this is a Very Big Deal in Fishers.  Prior downtown proposals pretty much expressly swore off using eminent domain (officially "condemnation proceedings") to acquire property, because if there is anything in Fishers more unpopular than forced annexation, it is eminent domain.  And the property owner has been there quite a while and doesn't see another place to move his home and small business and stay in Fishers.

To be clear, there are things I like about the downtown development, and things I don't like.  And this highlights one of the things I dislike most.  The downtown development threatens to displace a lot of small local businesses.  My insurance agent is one of those who has agreed to sell.  I have no idea where they are going. Some of the new business will be local, and some won't.  Still up in the air is what happens to the law offices, pizzeria, ice cream store, and more, in that area.

I opposed this in 2007 when a prior plan proposed to displace locals and replace them with chain stores in a box-formation of strip malls. Apparently the current council has not learned from that lesson. Growth and redevelopment must not come on the backs of local residents and businesses.  If they can't come up with a "win-win" scenario, they either need to think harder, negotiate better, or it is time for more new blood in Fishers government.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Do you want to help elect someone different in Fishers?

Friends, as many of you know, I am considering running for a seat on the Fishers City Council in the upcoming election.  I have not yet made a final decision about running, but filing opens next week.  

So, can you please email me back if you are interested in helping at some level?  I would like a small core of committed dedicated people who will plan and organize the campaign and coordinate the larger group of volunteers.  So if you are interested, at either level, let me know, as I would like to have an organizing meeting soon.  

And this is an effort where any and all types of help is welcome, whether you have graphics skills, public relations, financial and fundraising, or you just want to call neighbors and knock on doors.  A pledge of a later contribution, in any amount, is also most welcome.  

You all know that I have been a leader in many important issues in Fishers, from being the organizer and first chair of CityYes, to speaking out against unwise tax increases and other actions, to blogging on local issues, to revealing illegal acts of local politicians.  I listen to no one but the people of Fishers, not influential insiders.  

So, regardless of your own political affiliation, would you be willing to help?  If so, send me a personal email back to Greg@GregPurvis,com, and let me know what you want to do.  If you want to be included in the inner committee, let me know that and when you would be available for a meeting.  

Thanks for your support!  Happy New Year.

Greg Purvis