economic development

City of Frankfort

The City of Frankfort recently received half-a-million dollars in donations for a park that Mayor Chris McBarnes hopes will revitalize downtown and bring new, long-term investment to the area.

But some detractors at a recent meeting say it’s as though the mayor is trying to buy a new car at a steep price when he could have fixed up the existing vehicle – the city’s other parks that some see as run-down – for far less money.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

In the 21st Century, it’s a bit of an open question how small-to-midsized Indiana cities will attract industry or grow their population base.

Gone are the days of a railroad or a new university creating a boomtown, so what’s a place like Crawfordsville to do?

The answer is probably not going to be “build a windfarm,” so perhaps instead of trying to grow the permanent populace, the city can try to attract visitors on more weekends.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

There aren’t that many movies staged and shot in Crawfordsville. And probably only a small subset of those involve replica firearms. So when a Crawfordsville police officer encountered what looked like a robbery earlier this week and fired a bullet at an actor carrying an air gun, people began to formulate questions.

city of West Lafayette

West Lafayette’s mayor wants to give people more places to have an adult beverage – as long as those new establishments follow some stricter rules than most West Lafayette bars currently do.

It’s allowed under a law in which mayors whose cities have so-called “riverfront districts” – as Lafayette and West Lafayette do – can authorize liquor licenses.
J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has returned from the state’s economic development trip to Japan, where he visited with executives of two long-time Montgomery County employers.

Barton says city officials have begun trying to get other prospective Japanese investors with whom the mayor had contact to travel to Indiana.

UPDATE: Indianapolis officials have since announced their plans to formally bid for the Amazon project. Read the story here

State officials won’t say if Indianapolis will join the race to house Amazon’s next headquarters. And despite the Hoosier capital’s push to become a tech hub, analysts say the it may face an uphill battle if it opts to bid on the massive project.

More than two-thirds of people who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed. Technology to help them enter the workforce is rapidly developing and recent advances could help level the playing field for blind job seekers in Indiana.

Jim Durst has been the superintendent of the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired for 26 years. He says students want to work when they leave – and they can do the job.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

A group of about 50 City of West Lafayette employees, all clad in blue tee shirts, flanked the city’s redesigned State Street Monday, welcoming Purdue students back to campus. WBAA’s Stan Jastrzebski walked along with Mayor John Dennis and City Clerk Sana Booker and sent an audio postcard.

City of West Lafayette

If it seems to you that Tippecanoe County leaders have been talking forever about starting a needle exchange program, that’s just an illusion – it’s only been about eight months since the first approvals began.

But if it has seemed to you that in recent months support for such a program from some local leaders has waned, that may be true.

Economic rebirth in Indiana downtowns can be a two-way street – literally.

Hoosier cities are spending millions to convert one-way main streets into two-way arteries.

The change can help boost the local economy, but it can also be hard on small businesses, like the one John von Erdmansdorff runs in West Lafayette.

Von Erdmansdorff is a local legend who’s spent almost 50 years selling all kinds of treasures out of his row of stores, Von’s Shops, on State Street.