economic development

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jstephenconn/3051019997
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.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The City of Lafayette has begun evicting some residents from low-income housing just south of the city’s downtown.

That’s because those homes are slated to be razed and replaced with new townhomes.

It’s all part of Mayor Tony Roswarski’s strategy to increase population density near downtown – an area that still doesn’t have a grocery store.

But could such a move be made to help the city’s dilapidated north end, which is home to run-down houses and Lafayette’s highest crime rate?

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

Last week, electronics and appliance retailer HHGregg announced it was shutting down all its stores, including one in Lafayette. It’s one of several large retailers leaving the area, and experts say filling those spaces could be difficult in a rapidly-changing retail climate.

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

West Lafayette city councilors may be at odds with some of the city’s landlords on the issue of building several new high-rise apartment buildings in the city’s new downtown.

The latest development, a 16-story building slated for the top of West Lafayette’s Chauncey Hill, won’t be the tallest building in the community—that title still belongs to the county courthouse dome. However, it is tall enough to test Federal Aviation Administration rules for building height, because its roof will rise to a higher elevation than any other building.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

It’s always frustrating when looking for a parking spot on a crowded street to notice that one more might have been available had another driver not taken up more than their fair share of space.

The City of Lafayette is trying to combat this road rage-inducing phenomenon with $20 fines for poor parkers. But the move, which is designed to make better use of Lafayette’s limited downtown parking, might have some unintended consequences.

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