IBJNews

Ballard says jobs, neighborhoods critical

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Creating a climate that allows businesses to thrive and improving Indianapolis’ neighborhoods will be critical to the city’s future success.

That was the message Mayor Greg Ballard conveyed Thursday night in his fourth-annual State of the City speech, delivered at the Indianapolis Artsgarden downtown.

In his 30-minute address, Ballard, a first-term Republican, made his case that the city already has built an environment conducive to economic development. He said the city has a strong fiscal position, including a AAA bond rating, and has avoided income-tax increases because of 5 percent budget cuts for most city departments over the last three years.  

He also touted Indianapolis’ job-creation record, saying the city landed a record 8,700 job commitments last year.

“Our aggressive pursuit of economic opportunities is moving Indianapolis forward, but we must remain vigilant,” Ballard said. “As companies and workers adapt to the ever-changing business climate, so must we as a city.”

To do that, Ballard cited two initiatives.

He has commissioned a panel of about a dozen national experts to come up with a plan for redeveloping the GM metal-stamping facility west of downtown, which is slated to close June 30. Meanwhile, the effort to find a new industrial tenant for the site is ongoing.

He also mentioned the city’s push – evident in recent ads in Illinois newspapers – to target business from other cities to move to Indianapolis.

Democrats, however, say the economic picture in Indianapolis isn’t so rosy.

Brian Williams, an Indianapolis businessman speaking for the Marion County Democratic Party, said according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city has lost 9,000 jobs in the last year. And he points out that the 8,700 jobs Ballard cites are merely commitments.
 
“Those may or may not come to fruition a year or two years from now,” Williams said.

The numbers Williams cited could not be immediately verified. Indianapolis’ unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in December, the most recent month for which data are available.

He also said the city needs to focus on significantly raising the wage base for jobs to compare with those in other states.

Ballard faces re-election this fall and will square off against either Melina Kennedy, a former deputy mayor under Bart Peterson, or former City-County Councilman Ron Gibson.

Sandy Gordner, who runs her own corporate-gift business out of her Meridian Kessler home, said she thinks Ballard has been fiscally prudent, and that has positively affected the local business climate.

“I think that’s pretty critical to the strength of the city,” said Gordner, 64, who attended the speech with her husband, Fritz, 70. “It’s what we have to do with our own budgets.”

In addition to jobs, Ballard said his priority is to rebuild neighborhoods by addressing issues such as crumbling sidewalks and streets and abandoned homes with about $450 million from the pending sale of the city’s water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy Group.

He said that’s a key step to advance Indianapolis’ profile after hosting the 2012 Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl is not the culmination of our growth, but the evidence of it,” Ballard said. “The next leg of our growth also requires us to attract and keep people in our city.”


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

ADVERTISEMENT