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Village Voice 01 2013: January


Announcements

  • January 8th (Tuesday) Board of Zoning Appeals is scheduled to hear the petition for WalMart
  • January 9th (Wednesday) Zionsville Parks and Recreation meeting
  • January 14th (Monday) Special meeting of the Zionsville Redevelopment Commission
  • January 22nd (Tuesday) Zionsville Plan Commission meeting


Letter from the President

I am going to take this opportunity at the first of the year to look back and thank some folks.

Bill Burgman remarked the other day about the great things that the VRA has done and accomplished in the last year and three things came to mind. The first is still in the works, and is something that will be a positive thing for many years to come and that is the new crosswalk at Oak St and 5th. Scott & Heather Lusk and Emily Mackinson really did a great job in getting some people involved, meeting with the Town and with Councilor Suarez, and going to the meetings to get this project up to speed and finished.

The second important thing that I believe the VRA did this year was to continue to keep the people of the Village informed on many issues and help to represent our concerns to the community. This was particularly evident in our discussions during the EDC Strategic Plan Process and now with the Walmart development. Both of these projects have been greatly improved by the input of VRA members, even with the Walmart still in the works. Thanks to all of you who have attended meetings, written or called our Councilors, or have volunteered for Committees. Your input makes a big impact.

Lastly, I believe the residents’ of the Village continue to be a closely-knit community and I am so thankful for all the work people have done to make this even better every day. I am very thankful for the VRA Board, the Editorial Staff of the Village Voice and all the people who lend a hand to make our events, informational meetings and celebrations a great success. All of your work is very noticed by people in and out of the Village and I hope that you are able to continue to give of your time and talents to make this the best neighborhood that it can be.

I want to send a special thank you to Marianne Doyle and Kathy Brown for doing such a great job with organizing the VRA Progressive Dinner this year. I know the obstacles that you had, including trouble with the invite system and I appreciate how this great evening went off without a hitch. Thanks also to the Zellers, the Lusks and the Royaltys for sharing their homes with us.

Unlike the picnic where we invite the all Village residents, the Progressive Dinner is something that only paid members of the VRA are invited to attend. Dues can be paid at any of our meetings or any of our special events such as our upcoming garlic mustard cleanup day, or checks can be mailed to our PO box and soon you will be able to pay online. If you haven’t paid since the Picnic in September, you haven’t paid.

Please remember that our next meeting is at Zionsville Police Department, on February 12th, 7:30 at 1075 Parkway Drive Zionsville, IN 46077. It will be a very interesting, fun and informative meeting—and Kids are welcome! There are also plenty of interesting other fun meetings having to do with the Walmart and the Dow property coming up—Don’t miss them!!

Don’t forget to shovel your walk! 

Chris Bucher

PS--Christmas tree's CANNOT be recycled at Starkey Park any longer. You can drop them off at Wormans on Zionsville Road or Greencycle in Whitestown for free.

Village News and Events

Village Welcome Center

by Kathy Scales Brown

It doesn’t matter if I am gardening, sitting on my front porch, exiting my car or walking around the Village that I hear “Ma’am, could we ask you . . ?“ 

At Brown’s on Main the most frequent question asked is:  “Ma’am, can you tell us where to find the public restrooms?” 

As a Zionsville resident and merchant, for years I (and many others!) have felt we needed a Welcome Center on Main Street staffed by volunteers where we can provide an ADA-approved public restroom, provide water, information and directions, maps, meet and greet tour buses, show walkers and bikers where to access our Rail-Trails, but it just seemed like a dream that was never going to happen until . . .

When Zionsville was recently selected by the State of Indiana as a potential Cultural Designation Site, they also provided (at no cost) management consultant Sara Peterson to assist in the completion of the application.  While brainstorming a month or two ago during a meeting of the Cultural Designation Committee, Sara asked:  “So, what is Zionsville missing?”  Of course, I start waving my hand – “We really, really need a Welcome Center and there is the cutest building for rent on Main Street and please don’t anyone go anywhere because I’m going to get the telephone # and be right back” and I dashed out of the room and across a parking lot and returned panting with the telephone # while another committee member opened her computer trying to learn who owned the building/property.  I was so excited there was interest I couldn’t sleep that night, and it sounds like other committee members couldn’t either because in a few days someone stumbled upon a different building and it was perfect – 365 S. Main Street – and it included the courtyard with a fireplace.  There were French doors that could be thrown open on a gorgeous day, a tiny kitchen with refrigerator, and an ADA-approved restroom!!!!!  We wondered . . . would the owner allow this small jewel to be used during Christmas in the Village the entire month of December?  He did!  300 visitors the first day!  Even Santa made an appearance!  (It is currently being staffed by volunteers serving cookies and hot chocolate while providing assistance.) 

Others continued conversations with the building’s owner.  Suddenly I found myself at a Town Council meeting listening as funds were requested and then approved for the Welcome Center to continue a few more months.  Immediately I wrote a letter of gratitude to the Town Council after their vote promising I would be its most active volunteer doing everything I personally could to make it a huge success.

If you would like to join me in volunteering, please email Village resident Marianne Doyle at mhdoyle@indy.rr.com.  In January, we’ll be in touch.  Only happy, smiling faces need apply.


Ruminations on Walmart

by Rich Rezek

I attended both VRA sessions with Walmart and here is what I walked away with:  Walmart has done their homework and found that currently they receive about $20 million annually from Zionsville residents shopping at nearby Walmart locations, which they expect would only increase if they were closer.  They feel they will be 'taking' the remaining business from Target , Marsh (Boone Village and 106th), and other large retailers as their main competitors.   They are confident enough to be putting down a ~$30 million bet on success.

So the question becomes, what kind of ‘shock’ will a super competitor bring to our local economic system?  Thanks to Al Gore and the Internet, I did some research: 
  • There is a large decline in small retail establishments almost immediately following a Walmart entrance, and for a year afterward (Hicks, 2012)
  • Competing businesses tend to be stores selling apparel, shoes, hardware, building supplies, paint and glass, groceries, fabric and jewelry. Additionally, establishments providing certain kinds of services – for example, optical services and car repairs – are also vulnerable. (Renkow, 2005)
  • Increases in local infrastructure (police runs, fire, waste management, court costs for shoplifting prosecutions, etc) are not always  accounted for. (Renkow, 2005)
  • NO property tax revenue from Walmart will benefit town services (above), or schools until 2029 as it is in the TIF district.
  • Are there any new tax revenues or does this really only displace current sources?  

If they are coming, it seems only rational to recognize the potential impact and change early to minimize the impact so many others have seen.  If we want Walmart to do anything different, the time to resolve them is BEFORE they get zoning approval and permits.  
  1. Find the right store size for our community. 
  2. Find the desired look and feel, ecological impact, etc.
  3. Identify hidden costs to our community in advance.
  4. Understand traffic, Bike Paths/Walking Path impact. 
  5. Understand Walmart policies like overnight RV parking in the Walmart Parking lot, 24 hour operation, etc.
  6. Encourage Walmart to source produce and goods from local providers or have a local section at fair prices.  
  7. Understand that the TIF inclusion will leave the town with all the expenses and few of the potential benefits.

Walmart is/are an ultra efficient competitor.  No criticism, mainly respect.  I moved here 7 years ago because I liked what Zionsville stands for: small town close knit community, local independent retailers, and a still thriving Main Street driven community.  To keep these things thriving, we need to be active custodians, not just observers.  

For or Against? Delighted or Devastated?  Every voice adds to our collective best decision.   Speak up to your Town Council representative and share your thoughts in your community.  

Please take the time to go to this website...

http://www.fightbigbox.org/

This website has a lot of information on Variances, FAQ's, and links to important articles and documents regarding Walmart along with an online petition. Please take a few moments to look through the information here and come to meetings to share your thoughts. If you would like to sign a paper petition, there are some at business's throughout Zionsville, including Akard's Hardware.

The meeting to decide whether they will granted a variance is January 8th at 6:30pm at Town Hall.

If Walmart is granted a variance, their development plan will be up for a recommendation at the Plan Commission. That meeting is January 22nd at 7pm. At this time they will discuss things like traffic, drainage, and safety & welfare.

If you have other thoughts or would like to discuss this development further please email president@zvra.com.


Progressive Dinner

by Jenn Bucher


Village Residents’ Association members gathered for the 4th annual ZVRA Progressive dinner in December. Always a popular event, this years’ party did not disappoint. Residents began their evening at the home of Mike and Tammy Zeller for appetizers. The newly restored and updated bungalow was the perfect setting for small bites and libations.








A sit down dinner was served at the elegant home of Scott and Heather Lusk. Homemade sides, including Mark Zelonis’ famous potato gratin, and baked ham warmed bellies.
 
At the home of Bob and Anne Royalty guests enjoyed Key Lime pie, Anne’s amazing brownies and lemon squares. Anne and Bob’s new Village home opens up to a private patio where guests could warm up at the glowing outdoor fire pit.



 

At this year’s event, the VRA board raffled off several goodies, including a Vera Bradley Bag from Brown’s on Main. Money was raised to held the Zionsville Police Department secure the $15000 needed to acquire a K-9 unit for the local force.
 
Another great evening in the Village!




Meet the Merchant

by Kathy Scales Brown

Coming to Main Street! Cheveux Salon & Spa

Exciting news from Main Street! Cheveux Salon & Spa opening soon! Andrea Fortney, owner and stylist who has worked in Zionsville for several years, intends to be Zionsville’s premiere salon for cutting, coloring, and styling services. Eager to grow and expand her business, she has worked to create the salon of her dreams. With the help of her husband, Chris Fortney, she has been successful in this pursuit and plans to open Cheveux Salon & Spa at 10 North Main Street (the former Watts Art Gallery) just before the new year. Andrea is originally from Wisconsin but moved to Indiana six years ago and has enjoyed making Zionsville and Whitestown home. In addition to having a passion for her career in the cosmetology industry, she is also the mother of two vibrant young boys, Aiden and Ethan.

The salon pledges to offer friendly, one-of-a-kind service, focusing on each guest’s individual needs. Cheveux Salon & Spa will offer a relaxing and revitalizing atmosphere, providing high quality and cutting edge products and services including, Bumble & Bumble styling products, exclusive Mastey de Paris ammonia free hair color, and Brazilian Blowout. Cheveux Salon & Spa will also be showcasing local artists. Andrea and her staff are eager to open in this beautiful and creative space for 2013, and invite you to visit soon.

Best wishes from the Village, Andrea!  May 2013 be very good to you and your staff!



Indiana Bald Eagle Viewing Day 

by Guinn Doyle

Every year Duke Energy opens its Cayuga Station located in Vermillion County to the public to view bald eagles that over winter there.  

The public is invited to attend Duke Energy’s annual eagle viewing day at the Cayuga Station. Most years, the area around Cayuga Station hosts the largest concentration of mid-winter migratory bald eagles in Indiana. More than 16,000 visitors have attended over the past eleven years.

Eagle viewing day for 2013 is January 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 1-800-832-3143 for further information.

The event is well attended.  Be sure to bring binoculars as the bald eagles are well up in the sky.   In addition, your car will be searched as part of ongoing security precautions.  The above information came from  Duke’s web site -- 

http://www.duke-energy.com/environment/stewardship/eagle-viewing.asp



January Comfort

We could all use some comfort as we leave the whirlwind of December and enter the long winter nights of January. Village resident, Lisa Bick, offers this recipe from her cookbook Guilty Comfort Foods.

Cottage Pudding
-it even sounds like a grandmother spoiling you

Ingredients:                                                                                          
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour

sauce:
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until light.  Sift the flour and baking powder together and add, alternating with the milk, to the batter. Pour this batter into a 9 x 9 " cake pan or iron skillet that you have greased lightly. Mix together the boiling water, the cup of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in enough flour to make it about the consistency of gravy. Pour this over the top of the batter and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.

It's a surprise when the "sauce" that you pour over the top sinks to the bottom and the cake batter rises. Serve it warm (to keep the sauce soft) and top it with some strawberries and sugar or melted red currant jam. 


Government Updates

Meeting: Zionsville Redevelopment Commission

Date: December 17, 2012


Dow Property

Remediation Area II has been removed from the purchase agreement.  This is the area with the pond - surrounded by Zionsville Rd. on the west, 106th St. on the north, Dalia Dr. on the east, and Pizza King / For the Dogs / Old 106th St. on the south.

Remaining area being purchased is right around 100 acres. The Town has repeatedly stated Dow's unwavering unwillingness to divide the land - that Dow refused to sell it as anything other than a whole. Not sure what changed on Dow's end, as that was not mentioned, however it is probably due to the fact the remediation is still ongoing in Remediation Area II and a completion date is unknown.

New closing date for the sale of the  is 2/15/13.

No environmental reports have been received yet. The Phase I should be received this week. The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment [EAS] reports on environmental conditions on the subject property base on review of existing data/information, not on additional testing.

The Phase II ESA should be received in mid-January. It will report on the results of testing soil and groundwater.

There will be 2 RDC meetings in January to discuss the environmental reports before the February closing date.

South Main Street Development

Construction for the South Main Street Development by Harris Property Group is scheduled to begin in February, 2013.  The property will be located on the west side of Zionsville Road, south of Eagle Creek.  The Economic Development Agreement states that they will finish Feb 2016.  Their ultimate goal is to finish construction before 2016 but to have an 80% occupancy rate by 2016.  The RDC plans to give the Harris Property Group an up-front incentive of $250,000 for building.  It was suggested by a board member that there should be consistency for all businesses requesting incentives or loans from the RDC to have similar and adequate financials as the Microloan for instance.   After some debate among the board, Harris offered to provide the financial information that was submitted to banks to secure the loan as well as a personal guarantee.

Walmart out of the TIF?

On the agenda was a discussion on a request for the  removal of the Walmart property from the TIF area.  Mark Plassman was the only person with comment.  He said, “I don’t believe it’s in the best interest of the town to remove the property at this time.”  He noted that although the TIF revenue from the property is not currently being considered as part of their projected budget, keeping it in the TIF will “give us a faster payout to get to our financial goals and objectives.”  Mr Plassman also said that this option may be something to be discussed if the Walmart development gets through the BZA and the Plan Commission.

Walmart Variance & Meetings

Speaking of the BZA and the Plan Commission, there are two meetings which will determine the fate of Walmart in Zionsville. The first is the at the Board of Zoning Appeals where Walmart is requesting to a variance to the Big Box ordinance which caps the size of the building at 120,000 square feet. Walmart is looking to build an approximately 157,000 square foot building. That meeting is January 8th at 6:30pm at Town Hall.

If Walmart is granted a variance, their development plan will be up for a recommendation at the Plan Commission. That meeting is January 22nd at 7pm. At this time they will discuss things like traffic, drainage, and safety & welfare.

Both of these meetings should have time alotted for you to make comments on this development.

For those of you that are interested in opposing the Walmart, there is an online petition at--

http://www.fightbigbox.org/

This website has a lot of information on Variances, FAQ's, and links to important articles and documents regarding Walmart along with the petition. Please take a few moments to look through the information here and come to meetings to share your thoughts. If you would like to sign a paper petition, there are some at business's throughout Zionsville, including Akard's Hardware.

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