Editorial: Fishers’ event center deserves support for what it will bring

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When a community enters the big leagues of the nation’s suburbs, certain things must happen to serve the growing population and continue to make it an attractive place to live, work and play.

The leaders of Fishers are doing many of these things through the development of Fishers District, a massive and powerful combination of retail, restaurant, residential and entertainment options.

Mayor Scott Fadness got it right when he said the development’s recently announced $650 million expansion is exciting for current residents and for the future economic development it will draw.

“This expansion not only answers the call from CEOs and employees looking for restaurants and entertainment,” Fadness noted, “but can now be home to our schools’ graduations and statewide sporting events.”

The most exciting development is an 8,500-seat event center that will host community events and concerts as well as serve as home to the Indy Fuel, a minor league affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks.

The expansion also includes a multifamily and garden home community, 250 luxury apartments, 150 hotel rooms, 80,000 square feet of office space and an entertainment district that would surround the event center with dining, retail and entertainment options.

The vision is ideal for one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation. From 1970 to 2020, the number of Fishers residents exploded from 628 to 98,977. And because of ongoing planning to meet the community’s needs, the city is routinely ranked as one of the nation’s best places to live by magazines and other entities.

To continue to receive those kinds of accolades and bring more high-paying jobs to the area, Fadness and other city leaders know that more needs to be done. And often, doing more means having to find the money to make it happen.

The Fishers City Council is considering imposing a 1% food and beverage tax to help fund the $170 million event center. The tax would apply to all food and beverage purchases in Fishers restaurants.

We support the tax because we see it as a low-impact way to make the project happen and because it is coupled with a goal of ensuring that property taxes aren’t increased to fund the project.

Also, Fishers isn’t just relying on this single vision to create a better future. Officials are actively doing things today that will broaden the city’s tax base.

Stevanato Group, an Italian company that makes glass vials and syringes, is investing $512 million in a new facility that plans to hire 515 employees by 2031. Also, Andretti Autosports is planning a $200 million headquarters in Fishers.

To keep these kinds of investments coming, Fishers officials know they must increase the city’s amenities. A 1% food and beverage tax seems a small price to pay to help make that happen.•

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