With a hard-fought primary battle behind him, Fishers Town Manager Scott Fadness is focusing on building community consensus along with a vibrant downtown.
Fishers’ aggressive redevelopment efforts were a key point of contention between Fadness and other Republican mayoral candidates—most notably former Town Council President Walt Kelly, who said public money isn’t needed to draw private investment.
Fadness, backed by current council leaders including John Weingardt and Pete Peterson, believes Fishers is on the right track in building a lively, walkable core that already is helping to attract businesses to the largely residential community.
And residents clearly are ready for a change, given their 2012 vote to make Fishers a second-class city with an elected mayor. Fadness won the first mayoral primary Tuesday with almost 47 percent of the vote.
Still, questions raised during the primary campaign make it clear to Fadness that the community still has some “fear and apprehension” about downtown development that he needs to assuage.
As mayor—the likely outcome of a November election that has not yet fielded a Democratic candidate for the office—Fadness said he will work to dispel myths, collect feedback and refine the plans as needed.
“We have to figure out how we can all reach common ground,” said Fadness, 32. “I have to believe we can find a community vision we can all rally around.”
As town manager—an appointed position he has held since 2011—he doesn’t have to wait for Jan. 1 to get started. Fadness already oversees day-to-day government operations, and he expects to begin working right away to make sure the switch from town to city goes smoothly.
A nine-member City Council also takes office next year, and at least five of the seats will be filled by council newcomers: the three new at-large positions, and district seats now held by Renee Cox (an unsuccessful mayoral candidate) and Mike Colby (who lost his primary race by 12 votes). Two other incumbents face challengers in November.
Fishers voters will return to the polls next year to get the new city on the regular municipal election cycle.