Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist
The towns of McCordsville and Cumberland are partnering to raise awareness of the economic development potential of a shared corridor.
Community leaders launched a study to analyze the business investment possibilities along the main thoroughfare of both towns – County Road 600 West commonly known as Mount Comfort Road.
“It is really innovative in the fact it is a collaboration between two towns that are seeing growth from the opposite directions on the same road,” said Tonya Galbraith, town manager of McCordsville.
The study explored scenarios for industrial, residential and commercial development as the towns look to grow the corridor over the next five to 10 years. Options explored were downtown boutique retail, a high-end retail park, medical offices and light industrial. The study notes how those developments would affect job creation and increases in tax revenue.
Community leaders plan to share the information with site selectors, builders and developers. Already, findings were rolled out to a group of 45 Hancock County thought leaders. A grant by the Hancock County Community Foundation, which required collaboration among McCordsville and other groups, helped facilitate the study. Hancock County, including its redevelopment commission and economic development council, and NineStar Connect also helped with funding, along with the towns.
Cumberland Town Manager April Fisher said the town is proud of its collaboration with McCordsville in navigating the future of the area.
“We see the importance of the Mount Comfort Corridor to not just western Hancock County, but also to eastern Marion County,” Fisher said. “The growth of jobs along the corridor will have a direct impact on both our towns. We are already seeing a larger demand for housing. And of course with an increasing population, will come development to support it.”
The next step, Galbraith said, is to figure out how to market the corridor’s potential. The future of Mount Comfort Road is frequently compared to Ronald Reagan Parkway in Hendricks County and the benefits felt by Avon and Brownsburg from their shared roadway.
“If you’re trying to market something as an economic development roadway, people have to know what it is,” she said.
McCordsville is working with Cumberland and New Palestine to develop a land use plan that is consistent across the municipalities. The goal: Show the potential of the corridor, and drive the potential to it, Galbraith said.
“A lot of people drive from Fishers to I-70 or Pendleton Pike to I-465, and they are just going to get to work,” Galbraith said. “We want to show others – what if you could stop at an Einstein Brothers? What if you could get a job at a light manufacturing facility along CR 600 and not have to go downtown?”
The marketing and branding piece, she said, will “help make that story come alive.”