Charlestown is growing. That might be the understatement of the year! In the last three years we've witnessed a record number of single family homes constructed, the announcement of over 400 new multi-family residences, and just shy of a dozen new business openings or groundbreakings.
Growth is exciting...and can also make folks a little nervous. I've heard consistent concerns from existing residents at every re-zoning meeting, community feedback session, and development design presentation. Safety, traffic flow, drainage, community amenities...these are just a few of the topics that have topped the list as we look toward our future.
Community feedback was a primary motivator for hosting the Municipal Growth Summit this past Monday. During a lunchtime session we gathered all the stakeholders currently working on development projects in the City. The attendee list included representatives from construction companies, engineering firms, development groups, INDOT, River Ridge Commerce Center, utility companies, commercial real estate firms, elected officials, and various city boards and commissions. The goal was to encourage everyone to work collaboratively as they plan and implement their projects.
From this summit and resident feedback gathered through surveys and listening sessions I've been able to get a clear direction for addressing challenges that accompany our growth trend. Getting ahead of these issues helps us be proactive in welcoming our future while maintaining our distinct community character.
Here are three action steps that I've proposed as a follow up to your concerns:
1. Offer financial incentive to attract new restaurants
I hear it nearly every day, and our development partners agree, we need more places to dine in the city. We are fortunate to have some amazing family-owned restaurants here already, but our growth is demanding more. For this reason, I asked our Redevelopment team to develop an incentive package that will inspire the opening of new restaurants in the city. Such an incentive program comes at a great time with the revitalization of the city square and the development of the Shadow Lake business park where retail and commercial opportunities are available.
2. Conduct a corridor study to address traffic flow concerns
The City of Charlestown does not "own" any of the main roads or highways that lead people to our community. Highway 3/Market Street and Highway 62 are managed by INDOT and the County has responsibility for 160, 403, and most of High Jackson. The roads aren't ours, but the homes are - and we deserve safe access to our homes. I plan to engage an engineering firm to conduct a corridor study so that we can demonstrate to our road partners the need for improvements on our main connectors. Your safety is my top priority.
3. Complete a comprehensive drainage study with action plan for improvement
In 2020 we hosted a drainage listening session and with residents' help we identified several areas of concern. We've mitigated several problem areas since then, but we need to get a plan for some of the larger areas (like Hidden River Valley, Bohart Lane, and the intersection of Highways 62 & 3). As we build more homes and businesses it's vital we don't create more problems. Our recent designation as an MS4 community means we have to make plans for our stormwater runoff. We knew this was coming and we're prepared. I will engage professionals to help us get a workable plan with a reasonable timeline so we can continue to provide relief and hold our developers accountable while remaining in compliance with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
In summary - the Municipal Growth Summit was a huge success. Business professionals and stakeholders are excited about the direction Charlestown is headed and encouraged by the proven progress we've shown in the last three years. You can catch more details from the summit and view the presentation offered by myself and our Redevelopment partner, Paul Wheatley, by visiting the media links below:
News and Tribune Coverage:
City of Charlestown Page and Presentation Link: