By Matt Werner
Zionsville has seen several economic development projects within the past year, and the planning department has been busy working to stay on top of them all.
Wayne DeLong was named the director of economic development and planning just more than a year ago and has been flooded with calls, emails and inquiries about businesses moving to Zionsville.
“It is important for the town to see (all the economic development projects) because it validates even further that Zionsville is a great place to have a business and family,” he said. “When FedEx (Ground) chooses Zionsville over any other place, that says a lot. They see that Zionsville presents an opportunity for their business and their employees.”
Despite the splash the FedEx announcement made and a host of other projects, DeLong said the most important thing that has been done since he’s been on the job is adopting the Economic Development Strategic Plan.
“That gives a great leap-off point for the policies and vision and projects we want to see in the Village and (Tax Increment Financing) district,” he said. “The plan goes into the strategies and critical paths that we should be looking at. Right now, we are following those points and implementing them.”
DeLong said economic development is not something that happens overnight but in many cases throughout the course of several years.
“It is frustrating to some people that it is a long-term process,” he said. “Zionsville is in the middle of an evolution; the town has changed geographically, and there has been a shift in the vision of the town. We are seeing the town becoming more active and investing in infrastructure and its future and economic vitality. The town has a very active role in being master of its own destiny.”
When he was hired, DeLong said one of his objectives was to streamline the department’s process and increase public information. He said they have started to look at several ways to accomplish those things and have implemented a few.
“We’ve moved to a monthly (Board of Zoning Appeals) meeting and made that meeting one week prior to the plan commission meeting,” he said. “So when someone needs a variance approval and plan commission approval, they can get through in about a 30- to 45-day window instead of what was a 75- to 90-day window.”
DeLong said they are still working on releasing more information to the public via the town’s website.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.