Southsider Voice correspondent
Dennis Buckley looked to the future of Beech Grove in his recent State of the City address.
“Much has been done over the past three years, but we have a long way to go as a city,” he said. “We are back on track, and we are getting ready to move to the front of the pack.”
Buckley pointed with pride to the city’s growth in commerce, sound fiscal policies, rehabilitation of a crumbling infrastructure, improvements to sidewalks and trails and increased public safety.
“One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of is the new economic development and interest in Beech Grove,” Buckley stated.
He pointed out that ADM Milling expansion, Kinetrex relocation and expansion and NPR Group development have added $62 million to the city’s assessed valuation. Community Health Network is expected to begin building a new medical pavilion late this year. And the possibility of seeing the former St. Francis Hospital property revitalized always looms.
“We have become home to 50 new businesses since we began our administration in 2012,” Buckley said. “Those numbers will increase as we continue to move the city forward.”
He also praised members of the Redevelopment Commission “for bringing dignity and accomplishment” back to the RDC.
Numerous city improvements are on tap this year. The timetable:
• Fifth phase of street reconstruction and repaving to begin in spring, an ongoing program with at least five more repaving cycles needed.
• Completion of selected wastewater draining infrastructure improvements to Hartman Field and Grovewood Drive in the future.
• Completion of sign inventory and replacement and safe routes to school projects.
• Complete final update on city’s assessed valuation, projected to be $412.7 million.
• Apply for funding for cultural trail through Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
• Purchase 25 new laptops for police vehicles, buy six more police vehicles, a new ambulance and new bus for senior citizens center, run two ambulances 24/7 and buy a new fire truck.
• Accepting and becoming compliant with IDEM’s “clean community” challenge, introducing curbside recycling.
• Continued improvements to all city parks.
Buckley also presented a tentative timetable for future projects.
• Mid-2016 – Hire two new firefighters; first new hires in 10 years.
• 2016 – Completion of senior community Beech Grove Station by NRP Group on site of the Rockpile near the Amtrak Maintenance and replacing firefighting structural “turn-out” gear.
• 2017 – Complete the hiring of three new police officers, apply to become a stellar community to become eligible for neighborhood funding.
• 2018 – Installation of sidewalks on Churchman Avenue from Emerson to Arlington avenues.
2020 – Develop and construct a new community center.
Buckley also emphasized that the municipal budget is fully funded and balanced. “We are spending less than we are taking in, and that’s a big deal.”
The city has its first stormwater utility, which is collecting user fees monthly in order to finance drainage improvements.