July 29--This is the third and final installment in a series looking at economic development in Zionsville and tools the town uses to help businesses relocate here and grow.
Zionsville is known for its quaint Village and mom-and-pop stores, but local leaders understand how important it is to bring in larger developments, such as Lids and FedEx, to help diversify the tax base.
It can start with a phone call -- a call to the Chamber of Commerce for more information, a call to the town's Department of Planning and Economic Development on building standards, a call to the mayor. Typically, large projects start with a call from a state agency or a relocation consultant.
"A lot of times we're one of the first calls when somebody wants to move or open a business in Zionsville," Chamber Executive Director Julie Johns-Cole said. "Depending on the size of the business is when it depends on where that call is coming from. If it's really, really large and could qualify for incentives from the town or state, that's when I reach out to (Director of Planning and Economic Development) Wayne (DeLong) and try to get everybody together."
DeLong said a lot of the conversations start with the company looking to see how much space is available.
"There's multiple scenarios for how the ball gets rolling," he said. "Those large, Fortune 500 companies, those are initiated by a broker saying 'I want to bring so and so to Zionsville.' With FedEx, we reached out to them. We knew they were looking and asked if they had thought about Zionsville."
DeLong said the town's commitment to extending Bennett Parkway was one example of the town aiding the right types of businesses to come to town.
"It's not just saying that we were going to do that but actually doing it to show them, 'Hey, we are committed to this,'" he said. "A lot of times it's 'We have a space, you have a nice business that we want to add to our mix, let's put a deal together.'"
Scannell Properties principal Courtney Lehman helped bring the FedEx Ground distribution center to Zionsville.
"The town was very cooperative and helpful in communication with us and streamlining the approval process," he said. "The Bennett Parkway extension was key in getting the site to work for FedEx. The town just did a very good job of getting things, keeping things on a timeline and working with us. They were willing to have special meetings to keep FedEx moving forward."
Between extending Bennett Parkway, installing a traffic light at 106th Street and Zionsville Road and planning out the future of Creekside Corporate Park, DeLong said the town does a lot to show that it's open for business.
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