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Officials hope study will aid growth

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Located on what is known as the National Road, Knightstown officials hope to take advantage of their proximity to Indianapolis in future economic development pursuits.

Recently, Knightstown Town Council members approved paying $1,000 of the $7,500 cost for a study that would help leadership here develop a masterplan framework to identify aspirations of the community and how they stack up with the realities of the marketplace.

At the suggestion of Town Council member Roger Hammer, members heard a presentation from Mike Higbee with Thomas P. Miller and Associates, an Indianapolis business management consultant firm considered a national leader in workforce development for more than three decades.

Higbee, who worked under Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut in the 1980s, said the town needed to plan for growth.

“Growth does not just happen in a town,” Higbee was quoted as saying. “It takes planning and preparation.”

Higbee proposed a process that would last 60 to 90 days. Officials from Thomas P. Miller and Associates would work with leadership here to develop a 10-to-20-year master plan. It would include pulling regional data about businesses, economics, the housing market, sustainable wages and workforce development.

Higbee stressed Knightstown is already an attractive community for development. This study effort would help identify some “missing pieces.”

Town Council member Kevin Knott said Knightstown “is in a good location, close to Indianapolis, with connected roadways.”

Hammer said commitments have already been made by companies in Knightstown to pay for the study, but he’d like for the town to contribute $1,000 “in order to illustrate the Town’s interest in this effort.”

Hammer’s motion was seconded by Town Council member Landon Dean and passed unanimously.

In other business at the Oct. 18 meeting:

• Mike Hill was appointed as a new commissioner for the Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA). Hill and Town Works Manager Randy Anderson were authorized to make binding decisions on behalf of the town concerning electrical issues.

• Police Chief Chris Newkirk reported 96 calls for service and 12 arrests, four of them for drug-related offenses.

• Council members approved Saturday, Nov. 24 as the date for the Community Tree Lighting.

• Clerk-Treasurer Beth Huffman reported there were no bidders to farm town-owned property adjacent to the sewer plant.

• Town Council President Sarah Ward thanked Tony Ortman and the volunteers he organized for clean-up work at Sunset Park.