economic development

Dan O'Connor /

A federal grant will let Indianapolis hire an economic recovery counselor to help put out-of-use industrial sites – and laid-off employees – back to work.

The city qualified for the $355,000 grant comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Agency after thousands of recent manufacturing layoffs – especially those at Navistar and, earlier this year, Carrier.

"We can't keep suffering these job losses and not try to mitigate it in the future,” says Indianapolis economic development administrator Brent Pierce.

City of Frankfort

To complete a new vision for Frankfort’s downtown, the city and county will have to find $10-20 million .

But first, say some consultants who recently completed a report on that redesign, the city has a number of cosmetic challenges to overcome.

This week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we talk to Frankfort’s Chris McBarnes about where he hopes to get the money and what needs to be cleaned up first.

City of West Lafayette

The West Lafayette City Council is set to decide the fate of a 600-bed high-rise a developer wants to build just south of State Street.

It’d add more beds to the neighborhood, but might also raise concerns about urban sprawl and the culture of the area just off the Purdue campus.

This week on Ask The Mayor, we speak with West Lafayette’s John Dennis about what impacts he sees from the plan and whether they jibe with his vision for the city.

Also on this week’s show: a number of listener questions about roads around the city.

How can we get more bike lanes?

City of West Lafayette

Now that West Lafayette has hired a contractor to demolish the old city hall on Navajo Drive, what's next for the site, and why did it take two years to do something with the mold-contaminated building?

What does Mayor John Dennis want from the city's new Development Director, Erik Carlson? Dennis says Carlson is a "take charge kind of guy" who can recruit businesses to the city of roof tops and tree tops, not smokestacks.

The mayor explains why he's an ardent supporter of putting micro chips in pets.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The city of West Lafayette has hired a new development director to oversee the business investment the city will rely on to pay back the cost of its State Street overhaul.

Erik Carlson replaces Chandler Poole, who sat on the Joint Board that drew up the State Street redesign, but who left the city earlier this year to move back to his home state of Wisconsin.

Carlson has worked in economic development in Indianapolis and before that in Lexington, Kentucky, where he covered the beat as a reporter.

At this weekend's U.S. Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis, leaders from cities big and small are brainstorming ways to collaborate on economic growth, rather than competing.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says that approach is already catching on in Indiana.

Outside a session with the mayors of Boston and New York, Buttigieg said his city of 100,000 is just big enough to have all the problems of a major metro area:


Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg Monday released a lengthy, detailed proposal he says will help spur Indiana’s economic growth.  And Gregg says it’s a plan that won’t require any new or increased taxes, relying instead on shifting existing resources.

The Gregg campaign’s 35-point plan includes proposals focused on building a skilled workforce, growing small businesses and streamlining economic development efforts. 

Gregg says those proposals, if put into action, would be judged by evaluating a series of key metrics.

Annie Ropeik/Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana towns have a new priority when it comes to driving population growth and improving their economies: their downtowns. The Regional Cities Initiative is Indiana's first major, direct funding boost for those -- but it's just the latest in a string of public and private investments.

In the first part of an occasional series on Hoosier downtowns, Indiana Public Broadcasting's Annie Ropeik reports on the push to modernize Main Street.


City of Frankfort

The city of Frankfort has taken its transition to police body cameras slowly. But when it comes to police sharing information on social media, the city jumped right in last month.

On this edition of Ask The Mayor, we chat with Mayor Chris McBarnes about whether there are any of the same privacy concerns on Twitter that there are about video of traffic stops.

courtesy GE

Governor Mike Pence announced Thursday that 2015 is a record-breaking year for economic development. 

Pence says 323 companies, up from 285 in 2014, pledged to create new jobs over the next few years.

“Those 323 companies are committing to create 26,555 new Hoosier jobs" he says, "and it represents more than 4.79 billion dollars of investment in the state of Indiana.”

That’s the highest number of companies committed to expansion in the state since the creation of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation in 2005.